CARLISLE, Ind.-- A Bloomington man convicted in a 1983 rape case has maintained his innocence for the past 35 years and is asking for his freedom.
Michael J. Floyd is serving a 110 year sentence at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility in Carlisle Indiana for rape, conspiracy, and criminal confinement.
Floyd said he should be released from prison, and he is not the only one who believes that.
Former Indiana University administrator Don Cross also believes in Floyd’s innocence and has been visiting Floyd for a decade.
Call 6 Investigates Kara Kenney has been digging through court files and records for several weeks.
This is a tough story to tell, because a Bedford woman was abducted at gunpoint in 1983 and raped, and there’s no doubt she was a victim of a heinous crime.
However, Mike Floyd said he is not the one responsible for the crime and has maintained his innocence for the past 35 years.
Floyd was 21 years old at the time of his conviction.
“I had never had so much as a speeding ticket in my life,” Floyd told Call 6 Investigates Kara Kenney in a sit-down interview at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility.
Floyd is now 56 years old, and his projected release date is May 2037 when Floyd will be 75 years old.
“It’s a very scary thought I might not even live to be out of here,” said Floyd.
To explain how Floyd ended up in prison, you have to start from the beginning.
It was July 13, 1983 when a Bedford woman had just finished work at Stone City Products.
An acquaintance of the woman, Ron Deckard, was already in her car and told her to drive.
Deckard pulled a pellet gun, had her pull over, put the woman in a trunk and a placed a hat over her face, according to court documents.
Deckard drove to a secluded area, court records show, where the woman was taken out of the car and raped.
The woman later told police she couldn’t see due to the hat over her face, but heard Floyd’s voice and identified him as the rapist.
Ron Deckard also told police it was Michael Floyd who showed up and raped the woman.
Floyd said he was shocked when police came to his parent’s house.
“They asked me if I had been in Bedford the night before, and I told them no,” said Floyd.
Floyd said he had helped Ron Deckard with his car earlier that evening, but came home and went to bed.
“They kept wanting me to give a confession and I kept professing my innocence to them and told them I didn’t have anything to do with that they were talking about,” said Floyd.
Thinking he had nothing to worry about, Floyd went with a public defender, something he regrets to this day.
The public defender had tried only a few major felony cases to jury before the Floyd case, court records show.
“The attorney didn’t call my mom as an alibi witness to give an account of where I was at,” said Floyd. “When the crime occurred, I was at home.”
Floyd was convicted of rape, conspiracy and criminal confinement and sentenced to 110 years in prison.
Although Floyd had no criminal history, court records show the Lawrence County circuit court judge said aggravating factors were the fact that Floyd showed no remorse, the total innocence of the victim and the “sadistic cruelty” of the crime, as well as the likelihood that Floyd would commit another crime.
Ron Deckard reached a plea deal in which he pleaded guilty to criminal confinement and conspiracy, and in exchange, prosecutors dismissed the rape charge.
At Deckard’s sentencing in 1984, Deckard said “I’m really sorry,” when asked how he felt about what happened to the victim.
Deckard served 15 years in prison and was released in 1999, according to the Indiana Department of Correction.
Call 6 Investigates found court documents that show Deckard believed it would help his case if he testified against Mike Floyd.
“There’s something terribly wrong with the criminal justice system,” said Floyd.
In February 1997, RTV6 was there in Lawrence County as Floyd was back in court with new evidence.
“I’ve waited a long time for today to get here,” said Floyd in 1997.
An FBI report showed semen found on the rape victim’s underwear was blood type A, while Floyd has blood type O.
“Therefore the semen found on specimen Q1 (panties) could not have originated from Mr. Floyd,” read an affidavit from IU Professor of Medical and Molecular Genetics Michael Conneally. “Furthermore, the victim was also found to be blood group “O.” Therefore she could also not be the source of the “A” blood type found on specimen Q2.”
Floyd demanded more DNA testing, but was shocked to learn Bedford Police destroyed the rape kit in 1995.
“I’m upset because this is the ticket to proving my innocent,” said Floyd. “Why would you deny a person an opportunity to prove their innocence?”
The Bedford Police department has not responded to inquiries from RTV6 about why the rape kit was destroyed.
Current Lawrence County prosecutor Michelle Woodward declined to be interviewed on camera, but in an email confirmed the evidence was destroyed on December 8, 1995.
Call 6 Investigates asked how the county currently preserves rape kits.
“Obviously the policy that I have in place now is going to be different than the policy that was in place in 1983,” said Woodward. “My policy is the law enforcement officer submits a form asking if evidence can be disposed of. We check the status of the case, determine if it is closed and if all appellate remedies have been exhausted, we then make the decision.”
Dozens of supporters have shown up to court to support Floyd over the years.
Don Cross, a retired Indiana University administrator and minister, has been visiting Mike Floyd for a decade.
"He ended up getting 110 years for something he didn't do,” said Cross. “This is a story that needs to be told."
Cross said Ron Deckard’s version of events just doesn’t make sense.
"To abduct someone at gunpoint, confine them in a trunk, drive them to a rape scene supposedly so someone else could rape her?" said Cross.
Cross has approached innocence projects, but with the DNA now destroyed, it’s a tough sell.
“Is that justice?” said Cross. “As a taxpaying citizen and a person of fairness, that just doesn’t make sense.”
Evangelist Alan Jones visited Floyd from 1984 to 1997 and said he’s visited more than 100 inmates, and that Floyd is one of only two convicts he believes are innocent.
With Floyd’s appeals exhausted, Floyd and his supporters are running out of hope.
"In the world we live in, you know there's going to be injustice, so you know these things happen,” said Cross. “But, we need to do the best we can to make sure it gets handled properly."
Cross and Floyd talk about the 1983 case during their visits, as well as sports and other topics.
“It's good to have someone in your corner that's listening to me," said Floyd. "Don Cross has been a godsend to me. He's been a spiritual mentor to me, a dear friend to me."
One big reason Cross believes in Floyd is because Floyd turned down opportunities to get a lesser sentence because that meant Floyd would have to admit he raped the woman.
“That’s one of the most telling things,” said Cross.
Floyd told Call 6 Investigates he was offered a plea deal in 1983 that would have meant serving 22 years in prison, and in 1996, he was offered “time served” but turned it down.
“I will never admit guilt,” said Floyd. “I’m never going to admit to something I didn’t do.”
Floyd will likely never get married and have kids, but he wants to be more than Prisoner 29443.
He plays in the prison band, and performs at several services every weekend.
“I don’t like it here,” said Floyd. “I had never lived away from home prior to coming to prison.”
Floyd is hoping for a pardon, clemency, or to be released on parole.