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A virginia man who spent 27 years behind bars for a rape he did not commit was officially declared an innocent man by a Virginia appeals court on Tuesday.

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Thomas Haynesworth, 46, spent more than half of his life behind bars after he was mistakenly identified by a rape victim in 1984.

It is the first time Virginia has issued a “writ of actual innocence” in a rape case without the use of DNA evidence.

“The victims have not recanted, no one has confessed, and there is no direct evidence that Haynesworth did not commit these crimes,” Judges Larry G. Elder and William G. Petty wrote in a dissenting opinion. “The Attorney General has merely expressed his opinion that Haynesworth is innocent.”



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