A Black man who had been imprisoned for nearly four decades for a murder he did not commit was released on Friday in California after DNA tests revealed he was not the murderer. Let’s see who Maurice Hastings was and what happened to him in detail.
Why was Maurice Hastings wrongfully imprisoned for 35 years?
Maurice Hastings is a 69-year-old man who was wrongly imprisoned for more than three decades. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office vacated Maurice Hastings’ murder conviction after he was wrongfully imprisoned for years.
Hastings was sentenced to jail and convicted for the 1983 kidnapping and murder of Roberta Wydermyer, a 30-year-old woman in the city of Inglewood. New DNA evidence cleared Hastings of the murder and revealed a different individual as the perpetrator.
Hastings stated at a news conference, “I’m not blaming anyone. I’m not standing up here a bitter man. But I just want to enjoy my life while I have it. And I just want to move forward.”
Maurice Hastings’s case explained
Maurice Hastings, then 35 years old, was detained and accused of kidnapping, robbing, and killing Roberta Wydermyer, a young Inglewood lady in 1984.
Maurice Hastings was convicted of murder in 1988 & sentenced to life in prison w/o parole.
From the time of his arrest, Mr. Hastings has maintained his innocence.
Earlier this month, crime scene DNA was matched to a person who was not Mr. Hastings. 🧵 pic.twitter.com/6iGVtp2c0T
— George Gascón (@LADAOffice) October 28, 2022
Hastings was given a life without parole sentence by a jury. Although he had insisted since his detention that he hadn’t done anything. He requested for DNA test to confirm his innocence. He pushed officials for years and finally, he had a DNA test and proved that he was not a murderer. And he’s finally out after 38 years in prison.
Hastings’ innocence was proved through a DNA test Hastings, who is now 69, had requested a test for years.
He obtained the test with the assistance of the Los Angeles Innocence Project, which is housed at Cal State L.A.
His conviction was reversed by the result. Hastings attended the hearing to hear the judge’s ruling. Judge William C. Ryan of the Los Angeles County Superior Court informs those in attendance that he concurs that the sentence should be set aside. The judge finally ordered him to release from jail.
According to L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón, the real culprit was a convicted sex offender who passed away in 2020 while serving a sentence for another kidnapping and rape of two other women.
“It’s important that we move forward with this technology because this will give people their life back.”, Hastings said of DNA testing. Initially, the death penalty was sought by the prosecution
Murder incident: What happened?
The D.A. stated that Wydermyer’s body was discovered in the trunk of her car and that a single gunshot wound to the head was the cause of death. Evidence of sexual assault was found. She was killed at the age of 30 while visiting a store after midnight.
Due to these facts, prosecutors first requested that Hastings get the death penalty; but, after the first jury was deadlocked, they withdrew their request. Later, he was sent to a life sentence without any parole in the second trial.
The real murderer, according to the district attorney’s office, passed away in 2020 while serving a term for a different kidnapping and rape.
In a statement, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon said that what occurred to Mr. Hastings was “a grave injustice.”
“The legal system is not perfect, and when we become aware of fresh information that makes us doubt a conviction, it is our duty to act promptly.”
Together with the Los Angeles Innocence Project, the district attorney’s office submitted a motion to overturn Hastings’ conviction.
Gascon expressed regret to Hastings for the lack of DNA evidence at the time of his conviction and prison sentence.
“The system failed you,” he said. The victims were let down by the system. Gascon also praised Hastings for forcing them to investigate his case. “You are a free man today because of your perseverance,” said Gascón.
Hastings thanked everyone who believed him and prayed for him, including his mom who passed away in June. “I prayed for many years that this day would come,” he said.
How people reacted to this incident?
I.M. Smelly tweeted,
Replying to @nycsouthpaw Maurice Hastings should be given the retirement money of every cop, and attorney for each year Maurice spent in prison. How do you get back 40 years of your life? You don’t! Give him their retirement money as compensation.
Dr. Tallha Abdulrazaq tweeted,
I don’t know the full details of the evidence, but DNA testing was available in the 80s. You have to question why US judicial authorities only accepted his application to test in 2021, and it’s difficult to escape the conclusion it’s because he’s black.
Kaya Burgess tweeted,
I’d still be against the death penalty even if justice systems could miraculously be made 100% infallible and miscarriage-free, as killing in the name of justice is ludicrous and barbaric, but just look at this At least this poor man is alive to be freed
Karz From The ‘Ding tweeted,
This man is showing more dignity than I would. He’s lucky not to have been executed but just wants to enjoy his life. I hope he enjoys every day of his freedom.
Herc F Baby. Please say the baby tweeted,
Maurice Hastings spent 38 years in prison for a rape/murder he didn’t commit in 1983. He’s finally free because of DNA testing (the DNA was available for decades but the DA refused to run the test). 38 years for a crime you didn’t commit while DNA clearing you was available is WILD.
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