27 years ago Thomas Haynesworth was arrested, tried and placed in prison for the rape of several Virginia women and now 27 years later he has been exonerated and his name has been cleared.
Haynesworth spent his days in prison learning auto mechanics, welding and masonry but his main goal was to clear his innocent name, a goal that came to fruition this week when DNA evidence cleared Haynesworth of three rapes he was convicted of dating back to 1984.
Thomas was initially identified while walking to a local market one afternooon at which time the then 18-year-old man was arrested.
While DNA evidence cleared him of only two of the three rapes and he was acquitted of a fourth case that appeared to be enough for state officials to release him of all prior charges.
Thomas Haynesworth’s exoneration marks the first time that Virginia has issued a “write of actual innocence” for a rape case (the third case) that did not provide any DNA evidence.
Acting on his behalf was two state prosecutors, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and one of the rape victims.
In the meantime an already convicted rapist was matched to the two DNA samples found at the scene of the rapes, that rapist is already serving a life term behind bars.
Speaking about his exoneration Haynesworth called it “a blessing,” and added:
“”There are a lot of people behind the scenes who believed in me. Twenty-seven years, I never gave up. I kept pushing. I ain’t give up hope.”
Haynesworth was release on Parole in March however he was listed at that time on the state’s sex offender registry, was not allowed to use the internet and had to introduce potential dates to his parole officer before they could go out.