Richmond Times-Dispatch – With new DNA evidence, man asks for name to be cleared


Bennett S. Barbour has asked the Virginia Supreme Court for a writ of innocence.

By: Frank Green | Times-Dispatch
Published: March 07, 2012
Updated: March 07, 2012 – 12:02 AM

A Charles City County man convicted of a 1978 rape in Williamsburg is asking the Virginia Supreme Court for exoneration in light of new DNA evidence.

In 2010, testing failed to identify Bennett S. Barbour’s DNA in seminal fluid found on the victim’s underwear — but there was a “cold hit” on a convicted sex offender who has yet to be named by authorities.

“This is an egregious miscarriage of justice,” Barbour’s lawyers with the Innocence Project Clinic at the University of Virginia School of Law wrote in a petition for a writ of actual innocence filed Tuesday.

Barbour, 56, under treatment for cancer, always has maintained his innocence. He was arrested when he was 22 in the Feb. 7, 1978, rape of a 19-year-old College of William and Mary student.

NYTimes – When Innocence Is Not Enough


EDWARD LEE ELMORE turned 53 in January. For more than half his life, the soft-spoken African-American who doesn’t understand the concept of north, south, east and west, or of summer, fall, winter and spring, was in a South Carolina prison, most of it on death row.

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Mary Ann Chastain/Associated Press

Edward Lee Elmore was in prison for 30 years, convicted of a crime that the evidence strongly suggests he did not commit.

On Friday, Mr. Elmore walked out of the courthouse in Greenwood, S.C., a free man, as part of an agreement with the state whereby he denied any involvement in the crime but pleaded guilty in exchange for his freedom. This was his 11,000th day in jail.

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VA Pilot – ‘Triggerman’ revision killed by Va. Senate panel

The Associated Press

By Larry O’Dell


For the fifth year in a row, the Virginia General Assembly has rejected legislation to expand the state’s death penalty law.

The Senate Courts of Justice Committee voted 8-6, with one abstention, on Wednesday to kill a proposal to allow the death penalty for accomplices who share a murderer’s intent to kill. The bill would have revised Virginia’s “triggerman rule,” which in most cases allows capital punishment only for the person who does the actual killing.

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