Jails / Prisons : DNA Frees Man After 27 Years In Prison


Well-Known Member
Apr 21, 2007
After 27 Years In Prison, New DNA Evidence Sets Va. Man Free


Washington Post/Getty Images
Thomas Haynesworth greets his great niece, Da'Niya Haynesworth, 4, at his mother's home.

Back in 1984, when Thomas Haynesworth was 18, he set out to buy some groceries for his mother. A woman, who had been attacked days before, sought a police officer and told him Haynesworth was the one who did it.

Eventually five women identified him as the attacker and Haynesworth spent the next 27 years in prison.

The Root reports on what happened next:

In 2005, in the wake of the exonerations of five other wrongly convicted men, then-Virginia governor Mark R. Warner (D) ordered a sweeping review of thousands of criminal cases from 1973 through 1988. Haynesworth's was among them. Using technology that wasn't available in the 1980s, authorities tested DNA collected from a January 1984 rape for which Haynesworth was convicted. The results cleared him and implicated a convicted rapist named Leon Davis.

The state of Virginia released Haynesworth, now 46, yesterday. He's a free man but the courts still have to clear his name.

Virginia's Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said in a statement that he supported Haynesworth and wanted not just to free him but to clear his name.

"I believe in Mr. Haynesworth's innocence," Cuccinelli said. "And I will continue to work toward a complete vindication."



Well-Known Member
Feb 28, 2009
Victims face guilt when DNA proves eyewitnesses wrong
Published: Thursday, March 24, 2011, 1:12 AM
By Maria Glod

Twenty-seven years ago, the Virginia woman sat in a courtroom, swore to tell the truth and told a jury that a stranger named Thomas Haynesworth raped her.

She was so sure. The sight of him made her tremble.

She helped send him to prison.

But she was wrong.

"For so long, his face and his name were where I directed my anger," the Henrico County woman said in a recent interview. "That's gone now. He's not the name. He's not the face.

"Now when I hear his name, I feel guilt. Obsessive guilt."

....Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II and two prosecutors, who have become convinced that Haynesworth was wrongly convicted in all of the attacks, are supporting his petition to the Virginia Court of Appeals for a writ of actual innocence.

So is the Henrico County rape victim....

...A study of those exonerations showed that the police identification process often unintentionally swayed the victims toward a certain choice, said Brandon Garrett, a University of Virginia law professor.

A well-meaning detective may offer a reassuring comment that cues a victim, Garrett said. One innocent Virginia man imprisoned for a rape was mistakenly picked from a photo lineup. His photo was the only one in color.

"Our memory isn't like a videotape," Garrett said.

It is not clear why the women picked Haynesworth. But he and Leon Davis -- a convicted rapist -- lived in the same neighborhood and resembled each other. Sometimes they were mistaken for each other. Davis, who is serving multiple life sentences for a series of rapes, has not been charged in the crimes for which Haynesworth was convicted.


Maria need her butt whooped for writing this mess. :bam:


Well-Known Member
Feb 28, 2009
The Washington Post caught up with Haynesworth, yesterday, at his home in Richmond, Va. They report that he spoke on a cellphone for the first time in his life; he ate Chinese takeout and fried rice and he met his two nieces:

"He's home," his mother, Dolores Haynesworth, said as she tucked her arm around her son. "It's still hard to believe. I'm holding him, but it's still hard to believe."

Haynesworth has never googled, used an ATM or traveled on an airplane. He doesn't have a driver's license. During nearly three decades behind bars, he was told when to eat, exercise and go to bed. He said he's ready to catch up with a world he knows only from television and books.

But for starters, he craves simple things. He wants to sit on a porch, reconnect with old friends and enjoy some of his mother's fried trout.

"It's been a long journey," Haynesworth said. "I just want to reflect and sit down and talk to my momma and eat a meal with her."

Lawd a-mercy.....This just makes me wanna cry....from 18 to 46...

I think about where and what I was doing in 1984 and him going to prison at 18.

"Makes me wanna holla."

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