Troy Webb

On January 24, 1988, the victim, a young cocktail waitress, was coming home from work when, as she got out of her car, a Black man pointed a gun at her face and demanded her money and her purse. She handed them over and her assailant led her from the lighted area in front of her apartment building to a darkened area at the corner of the building. He threatened her with the gun and forced her to remove her clothes and underpants and proceeded to rape her. Afterward, the victim suggested they each go their separate ways and the assailant agreed. The victim watched him walk away and then ran into her house and called first her mother and then the police. Troy Webb was arrested for the crime after the victim identified a photo of him as the attacker.

At trial, the prosecution presented evidence that the victim had picked out a photograph of Webb at the police station. After declaring that she was ninety-nine percent sure that Webb was her attacker, she picked out another, younger, picture of him. A forensic analyst conducted serology testing on swabs collected from the victim after the attack and found Type A antigens, which were foreign to both Webb and the victim. Although he should have been excluded as a possible perpetrator, the analyst testified that because Webb was a nonsecretor he could have contributed to a mixed sample. This was improper because there was no reason to believe there was a mixed sample of two semen contributors.

All of Webb’s appeals and challenges were unsuccessful until DNA testing was done.

In 1996, Webb gained access to the evidence for the purposes of DNA testing. The results of the testing excluded him as the perpetrator of this crime. He eventually filed for and was granted executive clemency from the governor. He had spent almost eight years in prison.

Time Served:

7 years

State: Virginia

Charge: Rape, Kidnapping, Robbery

Conviction: Rape, Kidnapping, Robbery

Sentence: 47 years

Incident Date: 01/24/1988

Conviction Date: 02/01/1989

Exoneration Date: 10/16/1996

Accused Pleaded Guilty: No

Contributing Causes of Conviction: Eyewitness Misidentification, Unvalidated or Improper Forensic Science

Death Penalty Case: No

Race of Exoneree: African American

Race of Victim: Caucasian

Status: Exonerated by DNA

Alternative Perpetrator Identified: No

Type of Crime: Sex Crimes

Forensic Science at Issue: Flawed Serology

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