According to ABC11 archived stories, Derrick M. Allen, 31, was 19 when Durham police charged him in the death of Adesha Sikia Artis. According to the transcript of a 911 call made by Allen, he claimed the child passed out while he was getting her dressed in a home they shared off Garrett Road.
An autopsy later revealed she'd been sexually assaulted.
Allen has always maintained he was innocent, and family members said in interviews with ABC11 in 1998 that they believed someone else in the home hurt the child.
Now, an audit of SBI crime lab cases has revealed that a key piece of evidence in the case against Allen - bloody undergarments - actually tested negative for blood.
Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson ordered Allen released without bond on Friday. A date for his new trial has not been set.