Day: October 29, 2022

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Highlights

Cal State LA’s California Forensic Science Institute’s Postconviction funding supports DNA testing that leads to the exoneration of Maurice Hastings after serving 38 years in state prison

Maurice Hastings served more than 38 years in state prison for the 1983 murder of Roberta Wydermyer in California and two attempted murders, but new DNA evidence instead pointed to another man who died in prison in 2020. At the time of the victim’s autopsy, semen was detected in an oral swab. Mr. Hastings had maintained his innocence from the moment he was arrested, but a request for DNA testing of the swab in 2000 was denied by the Los Angeles County District Attorney. Eventually, Mr. Hastings was able to put in a claim of innocence to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit in 2021 and DNA testing found that the semen was not his. The DNA profile instead matched a man who had been convicted of an armed kidnapping where he placed his female victim in a trunk of a vehicle. On October 20, 2022, Mr. Hastings was released from prison and his 1988 conviction was vacated.