Defense attorney claims new DNA evidence could exonerate Fresno State grad accused of groping women near campus

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A jury has been picked to hear the case of a former Fresno State student accused of groping young women near the university last year.

Deandre Jean-Pierre has insisted he is not the one who was wearing a hoody and grabbing women. From the start, the attorney for Jean-Pierre said he was framed in a photo lineup.

Now the defense says evidence just released may exonerate the former Bulldog mascot. Jean-Pierre is accused by prosecutors of being a serial groper who went after women near the apartment complex he lived by Fresno State.

Friday, as jurors were selected, attorney Franz Criego said DNA results turned over to the district attorney's office Friday clear his client's name.

"The reports that we received clearly exonerate my client," attorney Franz Criego said. "The reports that we have received clearly exonerate my client as not being the donor."

A fingerprint left and analyzed in the exact spot one of the victim's said the groper touched her car is what Criego said came back negative as Jean-Pierre's.

Five victims said they were fondled near Cedar and Barstow Avenues over a three-month period last year. Criego claims a few of the victims weren't able to identify his client.

But now Criego wants to know what also happened to additional evidence prosecutors had but never tested.

"There was clothing taken from my client," he said. "In one particular case, the alleged victims said that my client had bear hugged her and grabbed her. Therefore, there should have been a transfer from my client to her or her to my client's clothing that the people have failed to test again for any DNA."

Jean-Pierre was a Fresno High graduate who wanted to be an actor. He performed in local plays and was a Bulldog mascot for a while.
If he is convicted, the 23-year-old could spend a few years in prison. But his attorney said the allegations have already ruined much of his life.

"He is now what I call an accredited college graduate who is flipping burgers at McDonald's because, in addition to his acting career, that the people had him terminated from. "He has no viable employment."

The trial will begin Monday. If convicted of all five misdemeanors, Jean-Pierre could serve from six months to four years in prison.
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