Black Man Freed After Spending 38 Years In Jail For Murder He Didn't Commit

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A 69-year-old Black man walked free on Friday (October 28) after spending nearly four decades behind bars for a murder he didn't commit, CBS Los Angeles reports.

Newly tested DNA evidence cleared Maurice Hastings, who was convicted in 1988 of the kidnapping and murder of Inglewood woman Roberta Wydermyer and the attempted murder of both her husband Billy Ray and friend George Pinson.

After spending 38 years in prison, evidence linked the 1983 crime to a different individual.

"I'm not pointing fingers. I'm not standing up here a bitter man," Hastings said during a Los Angeles news conference. "But I just want to enjoy my life while I have it. And I just want to move forward."

Efforts by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Officer and Los Angeles Innocence Project led to Hastings' conviction for abduction, sexual assault, murder, and attempted murder being vacated.

"We no longer have any confidence in the veracity of the case against Mr. Hastings," said LA DA George Gascón. "You are a free man today because of your perseverance."

Hastings' first trial resulted in a deadlocked jury, but a second found him guilty of the crimes. He received a life sentence in prison without parole.

"The system failed you," he said. "The system failed the victims."

The individual whose DNA linked them to the murder died in 2020.

According to reports, Wydermyer went on a late-night run to an Inglewood market in 1983 and never came home. As they were trying to find her, Wydermer's husband and a friend located her car, following the vehicle as it was being stolen. During the pursuit, the suspect opened fire, wounding Billy Ray Wydermyer.

Police say the suspect robbed the woman, sexually assaulted her, and then shot her in the back of the head before stealing her vehicle.

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