DNA clears trucker in 1982 rape

| 12/12/2001

In a story the New York Times describes as "steeped in racism," a Virginia man convicted of a 1982 rape has become the 99th convicted felon in the country to be cleared by DNA with the aid of biological evidence found at the crime scene. According to published reports, the original investigation reportedly will be reopened.

Trucker Marvin Lamont Anderson was 18 when a white Hanover County woman was abducted from a wooded area and sexually assaulted by a black man. Sheriff's deputies focused on him in part because the assailant talked about having a white girlfriend and Anderson, who is black, was dating a white woman.

Anderson was picked out of a lineup by the victim and subsequently convicted by an all-white jury and sentenced to 210 years in prison based on the testimony from the victim. He served 15 years before he was paroled in 1997.

At an evidentiary hearing during a 1988 appeal, another man confessed to the crime. But the original judge in the case ruled that the man, who had been linked to a bicycle seen in the area the day of the crime, wasn't credible.

Anderson, now married with an 18-month-old child, plans to seek a full pardon from Gov. Jim Gilmore, according to the Washington Post. He would otherwise be under state supervision for the rest of his life.

Anderson is looking forward to life without a parole officer, and, as an avid hunter, wants to regain his right to own a gun. "I've been blessed in ways that most people can't realize," Anderson told the Post. "All I ever wanted was the chance to show my innocence, and I got that. The whole world will know now that I was telling the truth."