AP

DNA evidence frees California man imprisoned for decades

Oct 28, 2022, 2:37 PM | Updated: 11:51 pm

In this photo provided by Cal State LA, Maurice Hastings hears instructions at a hearing at Los Ang...

In this photo provided by Cal State LA, Maurice Hastings hears instructions at a hearing at Los Angeles Superior Court where a judge dismissed his conviction for murder after new DNA evidence exonerated him, Oct. 20, 2022, in Los Angeles. (J. Emilio Flores/Cal State LA via AP)

(J. Emilio Flores/Cal State LA via AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A man who spent more than 38 years behind bars for a 1983 murder and two attempted murders has been released from a California prison after long-untested DNA evidence pointed to a different person, the Los Angeles County district attorney said Friday.

The conviction of Maurice Hastings, 69, and a life sentence were vacated during an Oct. 20 court hearing at the request of prosecutors and his lawyers from the Los Angeles Innocence Project at California State University, Los Angeles.

“I prayed for many years that this day would come,” Hastings said at a news conference Friday, adding: “I am not pointing fingers; I am not standing up here a bitter man, but I just want to enjoy my life now while I have it.”

“What has happened to Mr. Hastings is a terrible injustice,” District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement. “The justice system is not perfect, and when we learn of new evidence which causes us to lose confidence in a conviction, it is our obligation to act swiftly.”

The victim in the case, Roberta Wydermyer, was sexually assaulted and killed by a single gunshot to the head, authorities said. Her body was found in the trunk of her vehicle in the Los Angeles suburb of Inglewood.

Hastings was charged with special-circumstance murder and the district attorney’s office sought the death penalty but the jury deadlocked. A second jury convicted him and he was sentenced in 1988 to life in prison without possibility of parole.

Hastings has maintained he was innocent since the time of his arrest.

At the time of the victim’s autopsy, the coroner conducted a sexual assault examination and semen was detected in an oral swab, the district attorney’s statement said.

Hastings sought DNA testing in 2000 but at that time the DA’s office denied the request. Hastings submitted a claim of innocence to the DA’s Conviction Integrity Unit last year and DNA testing last June found that the semen was not his.

The DNA profile was put into a state database this month and was matched to a person who was convicted of an armed kidnapping in which a female victim was placed in a vehicle’s trunk as well as the forced oral copulation of a woman.

That suspect, whose name was not released, died in prison in 2020.

The district attorney’s office said it is working with police to further investigate the involvement of the dead person in the case.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Mugshot of Rudy Giuliani, who was processed Monday, June 10, 2024, in the Arizona fake electors cas...

Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani posts $10K cash bond after being processed in Arizona fake electors case

Rudy Giuliani, a former New York City mayor and Donald Trump attorney, was processed Monday in the Arizona fake electors case.

2 days ago

FILE - White House former chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters at the White House, Wed...

Associated Press

Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows pleads not guilty in Arizona fake elector case

Former Donald Trump presidential chief of staff Mark Meadows and Trump 2020 Election Day operations director Michael Roman pleaded not guilty Friday in Phoenix to nine felony charges for their roles in an effort to overturn Trump's Arizona election loss to Joe Biden.

5 days ago

deadly heat wave last summer...

Associated Press

After a deadly heat wave last summer, metro Phoenix is changing tactics

Fresh memories of the deadly heat wave last summer have led Arizona authorities to launch new tactics ahead of summer 2024.

16 days ago

A Yuma man has been arrested for allegedly starting a wildfire in a national wildlife preserve near...

Associated Press

Man accused of starting wildfire in national wildlife preserve in Yuma

A Yuma man has been arrested for allegedly starting a wildfire in a national wildlife preserve near the California border.

17 days ago

Colorado River settlement center of new Navajo Nation push...

Associated Press

Tribes say their future is at stake as they push for Congress to consider Colorado River settlement

Navajo officials are celebrating the signing of legislation outlining a proposed Colorado River settlement that would ensure water rights.

19 days ago

Colorado River settlement center of new Navajo Nation push...

Sponsored Content by

Navajo officials are celebrating the signing of legislation outlining a proposed Colorado River settlement that would ensure water rights.

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinic visits boost student training & community health

Going to a Midwestern University Clinic can help make you feel good in more ways than one.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

DNA evidence frees California man imprisoned for decades