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I. In May of 1983, in Fauquier County, Earl Washington was arrested for breaking and entering the home of Mrs. Helen Weeks, a 73-year-old woman, stealing a gun and money from her, and brutally beating her with a chair after she awoke to discover him in her house. He also shot his brother with the gun he stole from Mrs. Weeks. As a result of those crimes, Washington pled guilty to statutory burglary and malicious wounding and he was sentenced to a 30-year prison term (two consecutive 15-year prison terms) for those offenses.

2. While Washington was in custody for those criminal offenses, he was questioned about the rape and murder of Mrs. Rebecca Williams a year earlier in Culpeper County. Washington confessed to raping and murdering Rebecca Williams in her apartment on June 4, 1982.

3. Based on Washington's confession and other corroborating evidence, Washington was tried and convicted of the capital murder and rape of Rebecca Williams and sentenced to death.

4. Ten years later, Governor L. Douglas Wilder reviewed new DNA tests of samples taken from tile victim and Washington. The DNA test results were inconclusive but did not exonerate Washington. In light of that new information, Governor Wilder commuted Washington's death sentence to life in prison with tile possibility of parole.

5. On June 1,2000, I directed the Virginia Division of Forensic Science to perform further DNA tests on evidence taken from the apartment of Mrs. Williams and her body. The purpose of these tests was to apply the most technologically advanced scientific methods to the evidence available in an effort to confirm or disprove Earl Washington's presence in the apartment of Rebecca Williams on June 4, 1982.

6. Since June 1,2000, the Virginia Division of Forensic Science has proceeded to perform the DNA tests on all known and available evidence.

7. According to the results of the new DNA tests, Washington is excluded from semen taken from Mrs. Williams' body and his DNA could not be located elsewhere in the apartment.

8. The DNA results further revealed the semen of another person on a blue blanket taken from the scene of the crime. The DNA from semen on the blue blanket matched the DNA of a convicted rapist. However, the DNA on the blue blanket did not match the DNA of the sole sample of semen taken from Mrs. William's body. As a result, the Division of Forensic Science could not confirm the DNA found on the blue blanket was Rebecca Williams' rapist.

9. In my judgment, a jury afforded the benefit of the DNA evidence and analysis available to me would have reached a different conclusion regarding the guilt of Earl Washington. Therefore, upon careful deliberation and review of all of the evidence, - as well as the circumstances of this matter, I have decided it is just and appropriate to intervene in the judicial process by granting Earl Washington an absolute pardon for the capital murder and rape of Rebecca Williams.

NOW, THEREFORE, in accordance with the authority granted to me as Governor of Virginia under Article V, Section 12 of the Constitution of Virginia, I, James S. Gilmore, Ill, Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, do hereby grant unto Earl Washington all Absolute Pardon from the convictions of rape and capital murder handed down by the Circuit Court of Culpeper County on March 20, 1984.

Given under my hand and under the Lesser Seal of the Commonwealth at Richmond, this 2nd day of October in the year of our Lord Two Thousand and the 225th year of the Commonwealth of Virginia.



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