He was exonerated and released from prison, and now, one Texas lawmaker is helping him reconstruct his face.
“He fought a good fight. He never gave up,” says he cousin Anthony Sims.
Ricki Rachell suffered almost unreal physical and psychological pain, but when you look at his face you can see his pain was very real. In 1992 he was shot in the face. Missing bones and mangled tissue left him disfigured.
“He only has half a tongue so it is hard to understand him,” explained Sims.
Years later he was accused of sexually assaulting a young boy, tried and sent to prison as “child molester.” It was all a mistake.
Rachell says he pleaded with authorities, warning them “the real rapist was still praying on children.”
DNA evidence from a rape kit –which would later prove him innocent — was never analyzed. It was never considered by the court that sentenced him to 40 years in prison. He wrote to his mother telling her its going to be okay. He insisted he didn’t do it.
“I said I was innocent but I didn’t think it would work out,” said Rachell as he thought back on his time in prison.
His cousin says it was all too much for Rachell’s mother.
“She drunk a lot. She drunk herself to death,” said Sims.
Finally, weeks after being released, a second prayer is answered
“Reconstruction surgery for you,” Congressman Al Green told Rachell Monday morning. “Is that something that appeals to you? Reconstruction surgery for your face?”
Rep. Green has arranged for world-renowned Texas surgeon. Dr. Joseph Agris to rebuild Rachell’s face for free. It could takes years and many surgeries to reconstruct Rachel’s face. He says experience has shown him his prayer will be fulfilled.
“I didn’t think I would make it, but at the last minute it happened,” said Rachell.
His family just prays Rachell’s psychological pain can one day be soothed.