A Los Angeles County district attorney said Friday that a man who spent more than 38 years behind bars for the 1983 murder and two attempted murders has been released from a California prison after long inapplicable DNA evidence. has given.
Maurice Hastings, 69, and his life sentence were vacated during an October 20 court hearing at California State University, Los Angeles, at the request of prosecutors for the Los Angeles Innocence Project and his attorneys.
“I prayed for many years that this day would come,” Hastings told a news conference on Friday. I have.”
“We no longer have any confidence in the veracity of the case against Mr Hastings,” said District Attorney George Gascon, who said Hastings had consistently declared innocence for years. “You are a free man today because of your perseverance.”
“The system failed you,” said Gascon, Peru, “The system failed the victims.”
Officials said the victim, Roberta Wiedermeier, was sexually assaulted and killed with a single shot to the head. His body was found in the trunk of his vehicle in Inglewood, a suburb of Los Angeles.
Hastings was charged with murder under special circumstances and the district attorney’s office sought the death penalty but the jury was deadlocked. A second jury convicted him and in 1988 he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Hastings has stated that he was innocent from the time of his arrest.
At the time of the victim’s autopsy, the coroner investigated sexual assault and the semen was found in an oral swab, the district attorney’s statement said.
Hastings requested a DNA test in 2000 but the DA’s office at the time denied the request. Hastings filed a claim of innocence to the DA’s Convection Integrity Unit last year, and last June a DNA test found that the semen was not his.
The DNA profile was inserted into a state database this month and matched that of a man who has been convicted of armed kidnapping, in which a female victim was placed in a vehicle trunk as well as a woman’s forcible Oral sex was done.
The actual killer, whose name was not released, died in 2020 while he was serving time in prison on a separate count of kidnapping and rape, CBS Los Angeles reported.
The district attorney’s office said it is working with police to investigate the dead man’s involvement in the case.