GRETNA, La. — A Louisiana man imprisoned for nearly four decades has been cleared in a 1979 rape and is preparing to walk free.

Fifty-eight-year-old Malcolm Alexander’s conviction was thrown out Monday by a state judge in Jefferson Parish. Prosecutors moved to dismiss the charge. Alexander was expected to walk free after clearing paper work Monday afternoon.

Judge June Darensburg threw out the conviction after defense attorneys argued Alexander’s trial lawyer had failed to point out that the victim had been doubtful when she identified Alexander as her attacker.

DNA evidence also played a role in the reversal. Lawyers from the New York-based Innocence Project handled the case. They thanked Jefferson Parish authorities for their cooperation.

Alexander’s relatives — including his 82-year-old mother — applauded and broke into tears in court.

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