News 03.16.09

Eight Years Later, an Exoneration Case Approaches the Spotlight

Eight years ago today,

Kenneth Waters

walked out of a Massachusetts prison a free man after serving 18 years for a crime he didn’t commit. He was wrongfully convicted in 1983 based in part on false testimony from informants. Although fingerprints collected from the victim’s house did not match Waters, police did not share this information with prosecutors or defense attorneys. Waters was sentenced to life in prison and would serve nearly two decades before DNA proved his innocence. Sadly, he died in an accident just six months after his release.

It has been eight years since Waters was freed, but his case is about to get a new wave of attention. A film about his wrongful conviction and his sister Betty Anne Waters’ fight to free him is currently

in production

. Starring two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank as Betty Anne, the film will tell the incredible story of her struggle and dedication to free her wrongfully imprisoned brother.

After Kenneth lost all of his appeals, Betty Anne, a single mother of two, decided to take action. Convinced of her brother’s innocence and desperate to challenge the conviction, she began what would be a 12-year process of putting herself through college and law school. In 1998, she graduated from the Roger Williams University School of Law and began to work tirelessly on her brother’s case. By the time she contacted the Innocence Project, she had already located the biological evidence and was trying to have it subjected to DNA testing. Finally, the Innocence Project helped secure DNA testing that conclusively excluded Waters as the perpetrator and he was freed in 2001.


The movie

, which has just begun shooting in Ann Arbor, Michigan, will be directed by Tony Goldwyn. Other cast members include Sam Rockwell, who will play Kenneth Waters, Minnie Driver, Juliette Lewis, Melissa Leo and Peter Gallagher.


Other anniversaries this week:



Tuesday:

Arthur Mumphrey

, Texas (Served 17 years, exonerated 3/17/06)

Wednesday:

Wiley Fountain

, Texas  (Served 16 years, Exonerated 3/18/03)

Thursday:

Edward Green

, District of Columbia (Served 1 year, Exonerated 3/19/90)


Julius Ruffin

, Virginia (Served 20 years, Exonerated 3/19/03)

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