After 40 years in jail, DNA evidence clears man convicted in woman's killing

Robert DuBoise was convicted nearly 40 years ago, but has maintained his innocence from behind prison walls.

Now, officials say DNA evidence proves he was telling the truth all that time -- and he could soon be a free man.

Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren said DuBoise was wrongly convicted and he plans to ask a judge to reverse the conviction and give DuBoise back his freedom.

"For 37 years, we’ve had an innocent man locked up for a crime he did not commit while the real perpetrator was never held accountable for this horrific murder, " said Warren.

DuBoise was convicted of the beating death of 20-year-old Barbara Graham. Her body was discovered in the parking lot of a dentist's office.

Barbara Graham

Back then, a young assistant state attorney named Mark Ober, who later became the state attorney in Hillsborough County, admitted he didn't have much evidence on DuBoise.

It was all circumstantial, including a bite mark on the victim that Ober's expert matched to DuBoise.

But the defense called that junk science and now the scientific community agrees, calling bite mark evidence highly unreliable.

It was the DNA evidence -- of the lack of DNA evidence -- that cleared DuBoise.

"The results showed Robert DuBoise's DNA was not present," explained Warren.

Warren said DNA belonging to two other individuals was present, resulting in a new investigation into Graham's death.

None of this could have been possible, Warren says, without his team on the Conviction Review Unit and supervising attorney Teresa Hall, who collaborated with the Innocence Project.

It took two decades of scientific advancement, plus nearly a year of investigation by the two organizations to right this wrong.

"If science tells us that we convicted the wrong person, it’s up to us to listen and act," said Warren.

His office plans to ask a Tampa judge to reverse the conviction and set DuBoise free.