Herring: Man wrongfully convicted of rape, murder on bite mark evidence

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Virginia's attorney general says DNA evidence proves that a man who is serving a life sentence was wrongfully convicted of rape and murder more than three decades ago.

Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring said in a news release Wednesday that his office has filed a brief in the Supreme Court of Virginia, arguing that 59-year-old Keith Allen Harward's conviction should be vacated.

Harward was convicted in the 1982 killing of Jesse Perron and the rape of his wife. His conviction was largely based on now-questionable bite mark comparison evidence. Recent DNA tests failed to identify Harward's genetic profile in sperm left at the crime scene.

Herring says Harward has the opportunity to request a bail hearing to get out of prison, pending the court's decision.

Governor Terry McAuliffe's office has also launched an investigation into the case, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran says new DNA evidence would justify a pardon, but says the governor's office needs to go through an investigation.

Harward's lawyers are seeking a writ of actual innocence from the state's Supreme Court.

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