DNA Evidence Clears Virginia Man

The Innocence Project announced yesterday that DNA testing proved that Thomas Haynesworth did not commit a 1984 rape for which he was convicted in Richmond. The DNA testing that proved his innocence was a part of a wide-ranging review of old cases in the state of Virginia that had been ordered by former Governor Mark Warner. For a full copy of the press release from the Innocence Project, click here. The DNA testing that proves Haynesworth’s innocence also implicates the actual perpetrator, a serial rapist who was convicted of several similar crimes in the area.

This exoneration again proves that The Innocence Project continues as the most effective national effort for exonerating wrongly convicted individuals facing the death penalty, shining light on the underlying problems that lead to these wrongful convictions and advocating for domestic criminal system reform. Each exoneration brings with it an opportunity to advance necessary policy reforms.

Nationwide, 238 people have been exonerated through post-conviction DNA testing. Eleven of those cases were in Virginia. Eyewitness misidentification was a factor in 75% of all wrongful convictions overturned with DNA testing, and the true perpetrators have been identified in more than 40% of DNA exoneration cases.