Innocence Project Client Robert DuBoise Released After Nearly 37 Years in Prison for 1983 Tampa Murder
DNA testing excludes DuBoise in a case that rested on unreliable bite mark evidence and jailhouse informant testimony.
08.27.20 By Innocence Staff
(August 27, 2020 — Tampa, Florida) Today, Robert DuBoise walked free after spending almost 37 years in prison for a 1983 rape and murder in Tampa, Florida, he did not commit. DuBoise was released after new DNA testing of the crime scene evidence that was thought to have been destroyed excluded him as the assailant.
In October 1983, DuBoise was arrested for the rape and murder of a 19-year-old woman based solely on unreliable bite mark evidence. No other physical evidence linked DuBoise to the crime. The state’s theory at trial was that DuBoise, his brother Victor DuBoise and friend Raymond Garcia sexually assaulted and killed the victim, though only DuBoise was arrested and prosecuted for these crimes. The only additional evidence introduced at trial that supported this theory came from a jailhouse informant. In March 1985, a jury convicted DuBoise of capital murder and attempted sexual battery and recommended a life sentence, but the judge overrode the recommendation and sentenced DuBoise to death. He served three years on death row before the Florida Supreme Court vacated his death sentence. DuBoise was resentenced to life for the murder and 15 years for the attempted sexual battery to run consecutively.
“Robert has spent over 36 years in prison because of discredited bite mark evidence and the testimony of an unreliable jailhouse informant who we now know received benefits in exchange for that testimony. The presence of DNA from two other people is indisputable scientific proof that he is innocent. Robert has spent decades determined to show that he was wrongfully convicted, and we are eager to see him fully exonerated,” said Susan Friedman, DuBoise’s Innocence Project attorney.
“I never lost faith that today would come. Now the world knows DNA proves I did not commit this crime. To walk out of this nightmare and hug my mother and sister after almost four decades, knowing I was innocent is bittersweet. I can never regain the birthdays, holidays and precious time I lost with them, nevermind the life I could have made for myself. I am grateful to be here, now with a chance to move forward, but I know there are more innocent people like me still behind bars,” said DuBoise.