After serving 40 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, a California judge declared the innocence of Maurice Hastings, who was convicted of robbery, murder and sexual assault in 1983.

Commenting on the decision of the Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge William C. Ryan, Hastings said: “I am grateful to the judge and the apologies that were made to me. I am ready to move on with my life. I am a happy man now,” reports Al-Rai daily.

Hastings, 69, was released after DNA from the site of the 1983 attack identified another suspect.

The authorities found the real criminal after they seized sexual assault tools in June 2022, identical to those of the evidence found in the 1983 incident.

The DNA categorically ruled out Hastings, pointing instead to Kenneth Bucknett, who died in prison while serving a sentence for kidnapping and rape.

At the hearing during which Hastings was declared innocent, Deputy Attorney General Martha Carrillo said: “I apologize to you, Hastings, for the injustice done to you, and for not providing you with criminal justice. We made huge mistakes, especially in not responding to your request for a DNA test on the evidence found in the incident. This case represents a lesson that we must learn well from.”

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