LA Man Declared Innocent After 38 Years In Prison

A Los Angeles man wrongfully imprisoned for 38 years has been declared innocent by a judge. The man in question, Maurice Hastings, has been incarcerated since 1983 after he was convicted of murder.

Hastings, who spent nearly four decades in prison, exhausted every avenue to prove his innocence, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon. Gascon revealed that every one of Hastings’ attempts to overturn his conviction was denied.

Hastings would finally get his freedom when DNA evidence led investigators toward a suspect who died in prison in 2020. 

Man wrongfully convicted of L.A. County murder and sex assault freed after 38 years

“It means a lot. I’m grateful for the judge’s ruling and the apologies, everything has been wonderful today. I’m ready to move on with my life. I’m a happy man today,” Hastings said following the hearing that handed him his much-awaited freedom.

Hastings denied any claim of bitterness, adding that he’s only concerned about enjoying what’s left of his life.

AP News Reported that last October, Judge William Ryan vacated Hastings’ conviction at the request of prosecutors with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and his lawyers from the Los Angeles Innocence Project.

Later on, prosecutors and Hastings’ lawyers returned to court to ask Ryan to proceed to declare him innocent of the conviction that earned him jail time. This discovery in the case left Ryan with no choice but to declare Hastings “factually innocent” of the murder.

Breathing a sigh of relief, Gascon commented on the situation, saying Hastings survived a nightmare. Gascon added that while Hastings spent the last four decades in prison, he continued exploring the options available to prove his innocence. Despite the repeated denial, he said Hastings hung on and was steadfast, hoping the day would come when he would be cleared of the murder.

Prosecutors accused Hastings of molesting and killing Roberta Wydermyer. Authorities found the victim’s body in a truck near Los Angeles. Charged with special-circumstance murder, Hastings narrowly missed the death penalty proposed by the district attorney’s office. After the first jury deadlocked, the second jury convicted him, sentencing him to life in 1988.


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