After 23 years behind bars, a man in Hawaii has been declared innocent and released. Judge Peter Kubota lifted the life sentence against the now 51-year-old for the kidnapping, rape and murder of a 23-year-old US tourist in 1991 based on new evidence, as Hawaii's largest daily newspaper "Star Advertiser" reported.
Earlier, Kubota spent more than seven hours listening to testimonies from a DNA lab analyst and some forensic tire and bite mark experts in Hilo County Court on the Big Island, according to the report. They explained that not a single piece of evidence connected the man or his two alleged and also convicted accomplices with the crime.
The DNA traces and sperm found on a T-shirt with the victim's blood, among other things, belonged to an "unknown man" instead, as the "Star Advertiser" continued to write. DNA analysis technology has made significant advances since then, the judge said. "From the outset, the DNA in this case provided strong evidence that these three men were innocent," said Susan Friedman, an attorney with the nonprofit Innocence Project.
The judge encouraged the freedman to "squeeze and love" his family and not focus on anger and resentment because of the trial or the people who would have put him in prison for a third of his life.