A local man convicted in 2010 for a family violence assault has been exonerated with the assistance of the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office Conviction Integrity Unit.
Mikhail Timofeyev, now 45, was accused of punching his boyfriend on April 28, 2009. Timofeyev pled guilty to the assault charge in August 2010 and ultimately served 54 days in jail.
In 2016, Timofeyev and his accuser married. The complainant said he had sent letters to the court recanting his accusation. The letters had not been disclosed to the prosecution.
In 2020, the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office was asked to review the conviction by Timofeyev’s attorney. The complainant recanted the allegation that Timofeyev assaulted him to the Conviction Integrity Unit. Recantation letters sent to the court were also verified during the review. Witnesses also confirmed Timofeyev had never been violent or abusive.
Timofeyev was originally a citizen of Russia, but became a lawful permanent resident of the United States. The assault conviction would have barred Timofeyev from seeking U.S. citizenship.
The Conviction Integrity Unit agreed to vacate the conviction based on the recantations and because there was no corroborating evidence that any assault ever occurred. On Sep. 1, 2020, the District Attorney’s Office filed a motion to dismiss the case. It was granted by the court.
“This false allegation made more than a decade ago had long-lasting effects on Mr. Timofeyev. He pled guilty to a crime he knew he did not commit and spent time in jail. Many do not understand how someone could admit guilt when they are innocent, but it does happen. When these claims are made to our Conviction Integrity Unit, we work to find the truth and do what is right. I hope Mr. Timofeyev and his husband can finally put this behind them,” said District Attorney Joe Gonzales.
“Mr. Timofeyev’s case stands as a reminder that it is never too late to do the right thing. The Conviction Integrity Unit applauds the bravery of witnesses who are willing to speak with us to ensure that no one has been convicted of a crime they did not commit,” said Matthew Howard, Director of the Bexar County Conviction Integrity Unit.
This case is the latest from Bexar County added to the National Registry of Exonerations. The NRE’s 2020 report includes four exonerations from Bexar County. The complete report may be found online.