Steph Deschamps / October 29, 2022
A man wrongly sentenced to life in prison has been released from a California jail after spending more than 38 years behind bars. “I don’t stand here as a bitter man,” Maurice Hastings, 69, said Friday at a news conference in Los Angeles. The 60-year-old was released after a test revealed his DNA did not match that of the killer.
He was accused of kidnapping, sexually assaulting and shooting a 30-year-old woman in Inglewood, California, in 1983. The victim’s body was found in the trunk of his car. Maurice Hastings was arrested a few months later and sentenced to life in 1988. Maurice Hastings always denied being the culprit. A DNA analysis finally proved him right. Mr. Hastings had requested a DNA test in 2000, but the prosecutor’s office rejected his request. It was only after informing the Innocence Project, an organization that works to clear the names of erroneously convicted people, that the man was exonerated.
DNA tests conducted last June revealed that the semen taken from the victim was not his. The DNA profile, registered in a database, matched a prisoner who died in 2020 and was serving a long prison sentence for other kidnapping and rape cases. “What happened to Mr. Hastings is a terrible injustice,” said District Attorney George Gascon.