Charges dropped against man thanks to cell phone

July 1, 2011 2:40:08 PM PDT
Lanell Dowling was 25-years-old when he was told he was facing 50 years in prison.

"My heart dropped, my heart, my legs, I'm in trouble for something I didn't do?" Dowling said.

Police released a sketch of the person who assaulted and robbed four elderly women in Brooklyn last year.

Someone saw it and said, well, looks an awful lot like Lanell and police picked him up.

They didn't have much of a case, though, until they did line-ups.

"There were four people who ID'ed him in the lineup," said Jay Schwitzman, Dowling's defense attorney.

"I was like, 'how could they point me out when I didn't do it. They were back and forth with it. Nobody, not even my mom,'" Dowling said.

"Honestly, I was not optimistic," Schwitzman said.

"I started to see how serious it was. Out of all the stuff that I've done, why did I get in trouble for something I didn't do," Dowling said.

Lanell spent seven months in jail and faced 50 years if convicted, which seemed likely.

Until his phone records came in.

"His historical phone records from his phone, his GPS, showed where he was pinging, he never left his building, it was consistent with what he told me," Schwitzman said.

With that, prosecutors agreed to let him take a lie detector test, which he passed.

The charges were dropped and he had back something he cherished.

"My freedom, but now I still have a problem with people looking at me strange, I feel like maybe they're thinking that I still did it," Dowling said.