In 2001, a woman walked in on a man who was in the process of burglarizing her Savannah, Georgia home. The man sexually assaulted the woman at knifepoint, then fled with some of her belongings. Before the woman was assaulted, she noticed that the man was wearing blue and white gloves.
Sandeep “Sonny” Bharadia was in Stone Mountain 255 miles away from Savannah working on a friend’s car on the day the victim was attacked. A witness supports his alibi. Days after the assault, Sonny called the police to report that Sterling Flint, an acquaintance of Sonny’s, had stolen Sonny’s car. When the police investigated Flint for stealing the car, they found the sexual assault victim’s stolen items along with a pair of blue and white gloves in a bag in Flint’s girlfriend’s house. When the sexual assault victim was shown a photo lineup, she identified Sterling Flint as her attacker.
Now implicated in a sexual assault, Sterling Flint claimed that the stolen items found in his possession actually belonged to Sonny Bharadia. So police then gave the victim a second photo lineup and, this time, she identified Sonny Bharadia as her attacker.
Flint pled guilty to theft by receiving stolen property and, in exchange for not being prosecuted for a sex crime, Flint testified against Sonny Bharadia. Flint’s testimony, along with the victim’s revised eyewitness identification, formed the backbone of the prosecution’s case against Sonny. In 2003, with no physical evidence to tie him to the crime, Sonny Bharadia was convicted of aggravated sodomy, burglary, and aggravated sexual battery. He was sentenced to life without parole plus 40 years.
Ever since he learned he was a suspect, Sonny Bharadia has broadcast his innocence. GIP listened. In 2012, DNA testing initiated by the Georgia Innocence Project revealed that the attacker’s blue and white gloves had been worn by Sterling Flint, not Sonny Bharadia. Despite proof of his innocence, Georgia courts denied Sonny’s request for a new trial, ruling that because the blue and white glove could have been tested for DNA before Sonny’s first trial, it is not new evidence and therefore Sonny is not entitled to relief.
Source: Georgia Innocence Project
See also News article. May 2015