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VA: Virginia Supreme Court wants to hear from lawyers in innocence claim in 40-year-old rape case

[Richmond Times-Dispatch]

The Virginia Supreme Court wants to hear from both sides in a DNA-based innocence claim filed by a Chesapeake man who pleaded guilty to a rape that happened 40 years ago.

In a brief two-sentence order, the court placed the already unusual and long-running case on its January docket to apparently hear arguments and/or ask questions in the case of Roy L. Watford III, 58, convicted of the Sept. 14, 1977, rape in Portsmouth of a then-12-year-old girl.

DNA testing in recent years failed to identify the genetic profile of Watford or his brothers who were also charged with the crime. Watford, an 18-year-old high school student at the time, said he pleaded guilty on the advice of his grandfather to win a plea deal that meant no jail time.

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