Hunt for the wrongfully convicted continues

Mark Warner - Panel photo
The Virginia post-conviction testing project was ordered by then Gov. Mark R. Warner in 2005.
By: Frank Green | Richmond Times-Dispatch
Published: August 20, 2012


A volunteer Northern Virginia lawyer hunting for people who may have been wrongfully convicted of crimes decades ago has a delicate task to perform once he finds them.

DNA testing of thousands of pieces of old crime scene evidence in Virginia’s long-running project to clear the innocent has identified 63 convicted people still alive for whom DNA samples are needed.

If any of the 63 is innocent, without a DNA exemplar to compare with DNA from the evidence there is no chance they can prove it. On the other hand, if they have committed other wrongdoing over the years, DNA might link them to unsolved crimes.

For the second time in Virginia’s long-running post-conviction DNA project, Jon Sheldon, a Fairfax lawyer, has offered to track people down. But, he cautions, this time it is after finding them that the difficult work may begin.

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