DNA Clears VA Man of 1979 Rape

A DNA test from a massive state project aimed at clearing the wrongfully accused has cleared a Richmond man who spent eight years in prison for a 1979 rape.

Attorney Murray Janus said he has asked Gov. Tim Kaine to pardon Victor "Bo" Burnette. Testing in 2006 confirmed that Burnette's DNA did not match samples taken from the victim.

That doesn't mean Burnette couldn't have done the crime. But Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney Michael Herring said it is enough to cast reasonable doubt and that Burnette should be granted a pardon.

Virginia's DNA testing project began in 2005 when then-Gov. Mark Warner ordered examination of all case files from 1973 through 1988. The order came after five men were cleared of rape charges from biological evidence preserved in their files long before DNA testing got under way.

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