TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Tampa man who spent nearly 37 years in prison for rape and murder was released as a free man on Thursday after recently-discovered DNA evidence helped clear him of the crime.
Robert Duboise served 37 years in Florida State Prison for the death of Barbara Grams, a 19-year-old Tampa woman police found beaten to death behind a dental practice in 1983.
A judge amended his sentence at a virtual motion hearing for his release Thursday, allowing him to be released immediately.
DNA evidence thought to have been lost was recently discovered during a review of his case. The evidence showed he was not a match for the forensic evidence that was collected during Grams murder investigation, according to the state’s attorney’s office.
“Frankly no one thought to ask after determining that the clerks office didn’t have the evidence if anyone else had it,” State Attorney Andrew Warren told 8 On Your Side.
The Innocence Project is representing Duboise and was working to get him released from the Hardee Correctional Institution.
Robert Nutter, Duboise’s former defense attorney, tells 8 On Your Side he is grateful, as he was always convinced of Duboise’s innocence.
“I think for our system to continue to investigate his case and come up with something that vindicates him is wonderful,” Nutter said. “That’s the American way.”
A hearing to overturn his conviction is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 14.
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