Related video: Robert DuBoise speaks to the media after he is exonerated.
TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Robert DuBoise is innocent, but that fact would not come to light until he wrongfully served 37 years in state prison, three of those on death row. Now forty years later, justice has finally been served.
On Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis approved a bill awarding DuBoise $1.83 million — $50,000 for every year he spent behind bars.
DuBoise was accused of committing the 1983 murder and rape of 19-year-old Barbara Grams. He was freed in 2020 following a reexamination of the case by the Conviction Review Unit in the Office of the State Attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit.
Documents stating their case for DuBoise’s reimbursement say “If a trial were to occur today, there would not be credible evidence to prove Mr. Robert DuBoise committed the crimes charged.”
His conviction on March 7, 1985, weighed heavily on what was believed to be a bite mark on Grams’ cheek.
Tampa police gathered evidence from the scene, including fingerprints, DNA swabs, and a mold of the bite mark. The mold was sent to Dr. Richard Souviron, a forensic odontologist who determined the bite matched that of DuBoise.
On March 7, 1985, DuBoise was convicted and sentenced to death. Three years later, his sentence was commuted to a life sentence.
More than 30 years went by until a subsequent investigation found Souviron’s interpretation of the bite mark was inconsistent.
First, Souviron concluded the person who made the injury was likely missing an upper tooth. After being presented with DuBoise’s dental impression, Souviron abandoned his missing tooth theory.
Experts measured the bite dimensions photographed on Grams’ cheek and concluded the injury was 45 millimeters, however, the average lower dentition of a human is approximately 32 millimeters from canine to canine.
Experts ultimately determined the mark on Grams’ cheek was not a human bite mark.
At a new trial, experts testified that Souviron’s analysis was “wrong” and that his conclusions were “far-field of having any scientific validity.”
DNA evidence also helped exonerate DuBoise.