Speaking topics: DNA, False ID, Race
On July 17, 1982, a young woman was raped by a black man whom she said was a total stranger. At trial, the victim testified in detail regarding the assault and identified Anderson as her assailant. In 2001 DNA results excluded Anderson as the perpetrator and he was granted a full pardon.
On July 17, 1982, a young woman was raped by a black man whom she said was a total stranger. After she reported the crime, a police officer singled out Anderson as a suspect because the perpetrator had told the victim that he “had a white girl,” and Anderson was the only black man the officer knew who lived with a white woman. Because Anderson had no criminal record, the officer went to Anderson’s employer and obtained a color employment photo identification card. The victim was shown the color identification card, along with six black-and-white mug shots, and identified Anderson as her assailant. Within an hour of the photo spread, she was asked to identify the man who had attacked her from a lineup. Anderson was the only person in the lineup whose picture was in the original photo array shown to the victim and the victim identified him in the lineup as well. At trial, the victim testified in detail regarding the assault and identified Anderson as the man who attachked her. An all white jury convicted Anderson on all counts and he was sentenced to two hundred and 10 years in prison. In 2001, after requests for DNA testing were denied, the Innocence Project, in conjunction with the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project, finally won access to DNA testing. The results excluded Anderson as the person who committed the crime, and when it was run through Virginia’s convicted offender DNA database, it matched two people who were incarcerated. On August 21, 2002, Virginia Gov. Mark Warner granted Anderson a full pardon. Following his release, Anderson served as chief of the Hanover, Virginia Fire Department, where he oversaw a team of 30 people. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Innocence Project and has three children—two sons and a daughter.