How easy is it to be thrown in jail when you are innocent of a crime?
January 10, 2017
(SANTA ANA, CA.) -- Think you can't end up behind bars if you're an innocent person? Think again. Here is a tale of how easily that can happen.
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A Southern California woman who was thrown in jail and sat there for months after being accused of harassing, stalking, pretending to be the wife of her ex-fiance and responding to online “rape fantasy” ads, was in fact framed by the woman she was accused of impersonating, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office announced Monday.
Michelle Hadley, 30, was behind bars for several months following an arrest in July, according to KTLA-TV in California. She had been charged with felony stalking, attempted forcible rape, violating a protective order and assault and was facing a possible sentence of life in prison if convicted.
But that all changed yesterday when District Attorney Tony Rackauckas announced that Hadley was actually the victim in the case, not the criminal and that she has been exonerated.
According to Rackauckas, another woman -- identified as 31-year-old Angela Maria Diaz, of Phoenix, Arizona -- now faces multiple charges after allegedly framing Hadley for stalking and attempted rape in a twisted, intricate plot that Diaz constructed, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors have detailed what they now believe happened in a news release here .
In the plot to frame Hadley, prosecutors allege Diaz, among other things, allegedly faked cervical cancer and a pregnancy, pretended to be an attorney and forged doctor’s notes.
Ms. Hadley walked out of court in Fullerton, California yesterday after the case against her was dismissed. With tears in her eyes when she spoke to the news media she said the incident had been a nightmare for her and, "Probably the most traumatic experience of my life, and I'm glad it's finally over."
Ms. Diaz was arrested on Jan. 6 in Phoenix and was charged last week with multiple felony counts including kidnapping, two felony counts of false imprisonment by menace, fraud, or deceit and one felony count of perjury.
If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of 12 years and eight months in state prison and 11 years in the county jail.
Diaz is awaiting extradition from Arizona.