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DNA evidence exonerates jailed man of 1983 murder

A man who has spent 37 years in a Florida prison may be released soon after new DNA evidence cleared him of the murder and attempted rape of a woman in 1983. 

Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren announced Wednesday afternoon that his conviction review unit has determined that Robert DuBoise is not guilty of the murder of Barbara Grams.

Grams was 19 years old when she was brutally murdered. She was found beaten to death behind a dental practice in 1983. 

Authorities determined that she had been beaten with a wood beam while walking home from her job at a nearby restaurant in a Tampa mall. 

‘Today is an important day for justice – justice for the family of a victim and a man convicted of killing her,’ Warren said during a press conference. 

‘This is painful and tragic. But it’s the truth, and when you tell the truth, justice is done.’ 

In a statement, Warren’s office said they are seeking the ‘prompt release’ of DuBoise ‘after newly discovered DNA proves his innocence’.

Warren filed a motion on Wednesday to free DuBoise, 55, who in 1985 was found guilty for the murder and attempted rape of Grams. He has been incarcerated at the Hardee Correctional Institution. 

According to WFLA, articles from the time reported that hair, saliva and blood samples were inconclusive. 

But a jury convicted DuBoise based on reconstructed bite marks that the prosecution argued matched his teeth.

The conviction also came in part from a jail house informant also testified against DuBoise at the time.

He claimed that DuBoise told him that two other men had murdered Grams while DuBoise raped her. 

‘Now that informant’s testimony has significant inconsistencies. And more importantly this new DNA evidence clearly refutes his testimony,’ Warren said. 

‘Wrongful convictions erode the foundation of our justice system. For 37 years, we’ve had an innocent man locked up in prison—while the real perpetrator was never held accountable for this heinous crime,’ Warren said.

‘The family of the victim, Barbara Grams, deserves to have the truth, and this new evidence helps reveal that truth to all of us.’ 

According to Warren, DNA evidence that was taken from the scene was believed to have been destroyed in 1990. 

But that evidence was found during an 11 month review of DuBoise’s case by the Innocence Project. 

An analysis found that DuBoise was not a match for forensic evidence collected from the murder investigation.

The Innocence Project is representing DuBoise and is trying to get him released from prison as soon as possible.

Warren said during the examination of the evidence, researchers found two samples belonging to men. 

One of the men has been identified and is currently a person of interest in the case.  

Warren said he was unable to release any other information about the person of interest. 

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