Today, it is expected that DNA testing will be performed on evidence found at a crime scene. That wasn’t so 32 years ago. Bennett Barbour was wrongfully convicted of raping a 19-year-old student who attended the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia in 1978. He was convicted through eye witness testimony. She said! He said! She was believed.

 

The day of the rape Bennett was 30 miles away with his mother and brother. This testimony is not considered strong because it came from Bennett’s family. Bennett was released from a hospital earlier on the day of the rape where he had a pin placed in his arm. Bennett has a brittle bone disorder which made it highly unlikely that he would be physically capable of accomplishing the rape, even if he attempted. Bennett was tried, found guilty and sentenced to 18 years. He served five of those years in prison with the balance served on parole. Fourteen years after Bennett Barbour had served his sentence, his entire sentence, DNA testing found him innocent!

 

His world had changed dramatically when he was released from prison. His wife of six months divorced him and his relationship with his daughter is strained. He was unable to find a job. Employers are cautious in hiring people convicted of rape and Bennett has contracted cancer.

 

The Commonwealth of Virginia learned through DNA testing in 2010, that Bennett Barbour is innocent of committing the crime for which he was convicted; however, they failed to advise him or the victim. The University of Virginia Law School’s Innocence Project learned of this and has asked the Virginia Supreme Court to grant Bennett Barbour an Order of Innocence, which would clear his name.

 

Please pray that this request, which has been joined by the Attorney General of Virginia, is handled expeditiously by the Supreme Court of Virginia.

 

 

Scroll