Photo by: CNN Newsource

DNA evidence exonerated a man after he spent 37 years behind bars. Now Tampa is paying him $14 million

CNN – After a man wrongfully spent 37 years in prison for rape and murder, the Tampa City Council unanimously voted Thursday to approve a $14 million settlement in a federal lawsuit.

Tampa is a city on Tampa Bay, along Florida’s Gulf Coast. A major business center, it’s also known for its museums and other cultural offerings

Robert DuBoise, who was convicted of the August 1983 rape and murder of 19-year-old Barbara Grams in Tampa Heights, was exonerated in September 2020 after DNA evidence established that he did not commit the crimes.

That made him the 30th person exonerated from Florida’s death row, according to the Innocence Project of Florida, which assisted with DuBoise’s case.

“I am sad for the families who have waited so long to get true closure,” DuBoise told CNN after his exoneration. “I spent 37 years imprisoned for a crime I was totally innocent. This is what happens when the police focus on the wrong person, make up evidence to fit their theory and don’t investigate to find the truth. Lives are ruined and communities are less safe.”

DNA samples also led investigators to link Grams’ murder to two convicted felons, Amos Robinson and Abron Scott, who were already serving life sentences in a Florida prison for a murder they committed in Pinellas County the same year.

In a statement, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said: “The credibility of our criminal justice system requires scrupulous accuracy and adherence to the highest investigation standards. Today’s Tampa Police Department is light years ahead of where we were four decades ago in technology and training. We hope this settlement helps Mr. DuBoise in his healing.”

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