July 6, 2007
Ex-inmate's innocence official
Gov. Timothy M. Kaine has signed a revised pardon for former death-row
inmate Earl Washington Jr. based on his innocence of the crimes for which he
was nearly executed.
Washington was convicted of the 1982 rape and murder of Rebecca Lynn
Williams in Culpeper. In 1985, he came within nine days of execution. DNA
testing led to his pardon by Gov. Jim Gilmore in 2000.
However, at that time, Gilmore said his pardon did not mean Washington was
innocent, only that a jury would not have convicted him in light of the DNA
WHY THE NEW PARDON? "It is now evident that Mr. Washington was and is
innocent of the crimes against Mrs. Williams . . . I have decided it is just
and appropriate to grant this revised absolute pardon that reflects Mr.
Washington's innocence," says Kaine's proclamation signed Tuesday.
Since 2000, DNA testing further implicated convicted rapist Kenneth Maurice
Tinsley, who pleaded guilty to Williams' murder in April.
WASHINGTON'S REACTION: Reached by telephone yesterday, Washington, 47, said,
"It makes me feel good, happy."
Barry Weinstein, one of Washington's longtime lawyers, said: "I'm elated and
grateful to Governor Kaine."
BACKGROUND: After Washington, who is mildly retarded, was arrested in 1983
on unrelated charges, he confessed to raping and murdering Williams but
Last year, a federal jury awarded Washington $2.25 million after finding
that police fabricated evidence against him by feeding him details of the
crime that only the killer could have known. However, that award was
contested and, in March, Washington reached a $1.9 million settlement with
Washington has married since his release. He works for an assisted-living
program in Virginia Beach and lives in one of the program's apartments.
HOW MUCH OF THAT MONEY DOES WASHINGTON GET? Robert T. Hall, a Fairfax lawyer
who also represents Washington, said that after legal and other expenses,
Washington realized more than $1 million.
Roughly three-quarters of that was used to purchase a lifetime annuity that
pays about $2,800 to $3,400 a month. The annuity is guaranteed for 20 years
so that if Washington dies, his wife, Pam, can benefit.
Source : Richmond Times-Dispatch