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Posted at 3:10 PM ET, 02/16/2011

Cuccinelli asks Va. Court of Appeals to free prisoner

By Washington Post Editors

Maria Glod reports on the Crime Scene blog that Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II on Tuesday asked a judge to issue a rare writ of innocence to a prisoner who has spent 27 years behind bars for crimes prosecutors now agree he did not commit.

Thomas Haynesworth, 45, should be freed from prison and his convictions erased, Cuccinelli said in papers filed with the Virginia Court of Appeals.

Authorities believe Haynesworth, who was sentenced to 74 years in prison for a series of rapes and other attacks on women, was mistakenly identified by several victims who were attacked in 1984 in a Richmond neighborhood.

They believe a convicted rapist named Leon Davis, who called himself the "Black Ninja," is the true perpetrator.

DNA recently exonerated Haynesworth in two of the attacks and implicated Davis. There is no DNA evidence in the two remaining attacks, but Haynesworth's lawyers, headed by the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project, argue the evidence points to innocence.

Read the entire post on the Crime Scene blog.

By Washington Post Editors  | February 16, 2011; 3:10 PM ET
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