Exonerated man released from Virginia prison

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BURKEVILLE, Va. (AP) -- A man has been released from a Virginia prison after serving more than three decades for crimes authorities now say he didn't commit.

Keith Allen Harward walked out of the Nottoway Correctional Center on Friday after the Virginia Supreme Court agreed that DNA evidence proves he's innocent of the 1982 killing of Jesse Perron and the rape of his wife in Newport News.

The Virginia Supreme Court granted Harward's petition for a writ of actual innocence on Thursday after new DNA tests failed to identify Harward's genetic profile in sperm left at the crime scene.

Harward was a sailor on the USS Carl Vinson, which was stationed close to the victims' home. The prosecution in Harward's case leaned heavily on the testimony of two experts, who said Harward's teeth matched bite marks on the woman's leg.

Virginia's attorney general says the DNA evidence implicated Jerry L. Crotty, a former shipmate of Harward's who died in an Ohio prison in June 2006.



 
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