GREENSBORO, N.C. – A former sailor from Greensboro wrongly accused of rape and murder 33 years ago walked out of prison in Virginia a free man on Friday.
Keith Allen Harward's conviction was based on now-discredited bite-mark evidence. DNA testing proved he didn't do it. The Innocence Project, a non-profit legal organization, helped get him out.
"In my case, the egos of those criminals - and I say criminals cause I'm talkin' about people in Newport News that had me convicted... detectives, prosecutors, judges, forensic scientists -- they went out of their way to convict me,” Harward said. “They weren't looking for the truth. They were looking for a conviction."
Harward said the worst part of his ordeal is that it devastated his parents. Both passed away while he was in prison.
Harward told reporters he plans to go home to Greensboro and eat fried oysters.
The attorney general says the man responsible was Harward's shipmate, Jerry Crotty. Crotty died in an Ohio prison 10 years ago. His DNA matched a national data bank.