Walter Snyder

Walter Snyder was convicted and sentenced to forty-five years in prison for rape, sodomy, and burglary. In 1985, the victim was attacked in her home by an assailant that broke in her door. She identified Snyder, who lived across the street, in a show up. In the course of investigation, the police found red shorts that were similar to the assailant’s. There were also police claims that Snyder confessed. Only Snyder’s mother could confirm his whereabouts at the time and conventional serology failed to exclude him as the perpetrator.

Working with the Innocence Project, Snyder’s evidence was sent to the Center for Blood Research in 1992, after prosecutors agreed to testing. The DNA report excluded Snyder as a possible depositor of the spermatozoa found on the vaginal swab. The laboratory repeated the test at the prosecution’s request, with the Innocence Project’s agreement. The results were the same. Afterward, the FBI looked at the results and confirmed the methods used.

The prosecution joined with the Innocence Project in seeking a gubernatorial pardon for Snyder. An absolute pardon was granted in April 1993. The court subsequently expunged his record.

On August 6, 2017 Snyder passed away due to a heart attack. He was 51 years old.

Time Served:

7 years

State: Virginia

Charge: Rape, Sodomy, Burglary

Conviction: Rape, Sodomy, Burglary

Sentence: 45 years

Incident Date: 10/28/1985

Conviction Date: 06/25/1986

Exoneration Date: 04/23/1993

Accused Pleaded Guilty: No

Contributing Causes of Conviction: Eyewitness Misidentification, False Confessions or Admissions

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