New Evidence Clears Inmate After 37 Years

Robert DuBoise's family never lost hope
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 27, 2020 7:50 PM CDT
Updated Aug 28, 2020 12:02 AM CDT
New Evidence Clears Inmate After 37 Years
Robert Duboise speaks with the media after being released from prison Thursday in Bowling Green, Fla.   (Martha Asencio-Rhine/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

(Newser) – A Florida man who spent the last 37 years in prison on a rape and murder charge was released Thursday, hours after officials revealed dramatic new evidence that proved his innocence. Robert DuBoise walked out of the Hardee Correctional Institution in Bowling Green shortly after 2pm. With him were his mother and sister. "It's an overwhelming sense of relief," Robert DuBoise told reporters outside the prison. "I prayed to God every day and hoped for it." The 56-year-old was serving a life sentence, having been convicted in 1983 in the murder of 19-year-old Barbara Grams. She had been raped and beaten while walking home from her job at a Tampa mall. DuBoise's conviction centered on one piece of evidence: an alleged bite mark on the victim's face, the AP reports. A jailhouse informant's testimony also helped convict him.

On Thursday, a lawyer from the Innocence Project and a lawyer from the Hillsborough County Conviction Review Unit addressed the false evidence in an online court hearing. Experts proved that the mark wasn't from a bite, and the jailhouse informant was deemed not credible. Rape kit evidence was located and tested and that evidence excluded Duboise. Judge Christopher Nash ruled that DuBoise should be released immediately. DuBoise said he will have to learn many modern things, such as how to use a computer. But he added he bears no ill will toward those involved in his long incarceration. "If you keep hatred and bitterness in your heart, you don’t have room for anything else," he said. The case has since been reopened and authorities have a suspect in Grams' rape and murder. Hall said the person “does not pose a threat to public safety at this time.”

(Read more false imprisonment stories.)

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