Maurice Hastings

L.A. Man Wrongfully Imprisoned For 38 Years Declared ‘Factually Innocent’ By Court Judge

Justice has prevailed in a L.A. county courtroom!

According to reports, a judge recently declared a 69-year-old former inmate named Maurice Hastings “factually innocent,” absolving him of a gruesome 1983 murder.

Maurice Hastings, wrongfully convicted of murder in 1983, narrowly escaped the death penalty & spent 38 years in prison, was found factually innocent by Judge Ryan today, on a joint motion submitted by LADA & @innocence_la ?

— George Gascón (@LADAOffice) March 2, 2023

Reportedly, Maurice Hastings spent 38 years in jail after he was wrongfully convicted of killing a woman named Roberta Wydermyer. Hastings was released from prison last year after DNA evidence, which had gone untested for years, pointed to a different suspect. However, Hastings and his lawyers recently returned to court to ask the judge to officially declare him innocent of the killing.

The victim was reportedly raped before being shot in the head and stuffed in her trunk. Hastings was subsequently charged with special-circumstance murder, nearly escaping the death penalty due to a deadlocked jury. A second jury reportedly convicted him, and he was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

Yet and still, Hastings maintained his innocence, just as he had since the beginning. Reportedly, semen collected from the crime scene sat untested for the entire duration of his imprisonment. Hastings reportedly submitted paperwork to have the sample tested back in 2000, but was denied by a court judge. It wasn’t until 2021 that he was able to connect with the DA’s Conviction Integrity Unit, who agreed to the testing. After the results proved the DNA did not belong to Hastings, the DA’s Conviction Integrity Unit requested his immediate release.

Maurice Hastings

Reportedly, the semen was matched to a man previously convicted of armed kidnapping and forced copulation of a female victim, who was also placed in a trunk. The new suspect, Kenneth Packnett, reportedly died in jail back in 2020. Now that Hastings has been officially declared “factually innocent,” he has been conclusively proven innocent of committing the crime. Speaking on the long-awaited moment with a smile, Hastings stated:

“It means a lot. I’m grateful for the judge’s ruling, and the apologies — everything has been wonderful today…I’m ready to move on with my life. I’m a happy man today.”


What are your thoughts on Hastings’ story? Leave them in the comments!