Last Wednesday, James Moses Glass, 56, was indicted for the 1978 rape of a William & Mary coed. For more than 25 years this crime wrongfully defined Bennett Barbour as a rapist. He served 4-1/2 years in prison, which cost him his marriage, marred his relationship with his daughter, and labeled him a violent felon. Two years ago, as a result of Virginia Governor Mark Warner’s 2005 order to retest all DNA samples obtained from 1973 to 1988, Barbour was excluded as the rapist. The DNA instead linked James Glass to the crime. Glass was in the database due to a 1979 rape conviction in New York. But, if it weren’t for a private attorney’s pro bono efforts, Barbour might never have known that the innocence he has always claimed finally had been proven.
According to a Richmond Times-Dispatch article here 76 felons have been excluded as the source of the DNA evidence in their cases, but as of January of this year, 29 of those still assumed living had not been notified of these results. It seems that Virginia hasn’t been very successful in notifying those who would benefit most from the results (or apparently of notifying the crime victims or of reinvestigating the cases where conviction error is suspected). Private Continue reading