Black man released after almost 40 years in prison for Inglewood murder
Maurice Hastings, who was convicted in 1988 of the abduction and murder of a California woman, was cleared when newly tested DNA evidence identified a different suspect in the crime.
A 69-year-old man who has spent 38 years behind bars is now free after new DNA evidence exonerated him from a murder conviction for which he has consistently maintained his innocence.
Maurice Hastings was convicted in 1988 of the abduction and murder of an Inglewood woman, Roberta Wydermyer, and the attempted murders of her husband, Billy Ray Wydermyer, and friend George Pinson. He received life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Hastings asked for DNA testing in 2000 to demonstrate his innocence, but the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office rejected the request, according to a news release from that office. He filed a claim of innocence with the D.A.’s Conviction Integrity Unit in 2021, and in June, DNA testing determined that the semen on a mouth swab used as evidence was not his.
The Los Angeles Innocence Project and the county D.A.’s Office collaborated to get Hastings’ convictions for abduction, sexual assault, murder and attempted murder overturned.