While Thursday’s Suffolk Superior Court hearing was about rapist Jerry Dixon, it was just as much of a significant moment for Anthony Powell.
Powell was convicted in one of the rapes and spent 12 years in jail for the crime Dixon committed.
On Thursday, though, Dixon, 38, pleaded guilty to the three 1991 rapes that occurred in Jamaica Plain and Roxbury.
He was sentenced to 30 years in jail.
Powell was convicted after the victim said with certainty that he was the man who raped her. However, DNA science caught up and exonerated Powell in 2004. It also linked the other rapes together.
Powell settled with the city for just under $4 million, according to reports at the time.
“The procedures used in those days were flawed,” Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley said. He was not the district attorney at the time of Powell’s conviction.
“Nothing can return those years to him.”
Conley said he met with Powell and apologized to him. The men shook hands after Dixon’s sentencing, and Conley described Powell as a “classy young man.”
Powell declined to comment to reporters after the hearing.
Also on Thursday, the state Senate was scheduled to debate a bill that would provide better access to forensic evidence for convicts.
Conley said he supports the bill as well as expanded DNA collection.
Dixon’s attorney said he is a father of two who suffered abuse as a child.