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.