After supposedly confessing to a crime he did not commit and serving four years in prison,
was exonerated 19 years ago when DNA testing proved he could not have been responsible for other similar murders.
Officially exonerated in 1989, Vasquez previously pled guilty to the murder of a woman in Arlington County, Virginia, and was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Vasquez made “dream statements” about the crime, which officers turned into a confession even though he was considered to be borderline mentally impaired. Prosecutors depended heavily on forensic evidence found on the victim that supposedly matched Vasquez, and told Vasquez they had two eyewitnesses that placed him at the scene of the crime.
It was only after multiple DNA tests that police linked the murder for which Vasquez was convicted to another string of crimes. The tests eventually concluded that there was no match between Vasquez and the evidence found at the scene of the crime, at which time the prosecution secured a pardon for Vasquez and pursued a case against the actual perpetrator.
Other exoneree anniversaries this week: