Meet the Exonerees

Bernard Webster

State: Maryland
Date of Birth:
Incident Date: Jul-83
Age at Arrest: 18
Conviction Date: Mar-83
Age When Exonerated: 40
Exonerated Date: Nov-02
Time Served: 20
Conviction: Rape, Daytime Housebreaking
False Confession: No
Implicated by Another Youth: No

Case Details

In November of 2002, Bernard Webster was exonerated and released from prison after being incarcerated at age eighteen in 1983. Webster was convicted of rape and housebreaking in 1983 and sentenced to thirty years in prison. In July of 1982, the victim returned to her Towson, Maryland apartment in the middle of the afternoon and was raped. Bernard Webster was arrested for the crime based on eyewitness identification. Based on the identifications and forensic testimony, Webster was convicted in March 1983 and sentenced to thirty years in prison. The Office of the Public Defender became involved in Webster’s case in 2000. In 2001, the Office of Public Defender filed a DNA request under the new Maryland postconviction DNA testing statute. After a year of litigation, a judge ordered testing on three DNA samples taken from the victim in a rape kit after the attack. In October of 2002, results excluded Webster as the source of spermatozoa found in the samples. Prosecutors conducted their own DNA testing that corroborated the evidence excluding Webster. In November of 2002, the prosecution agreed to vacate Webster’s conviction. He became the first person to be exonerated under Maryland’s postconviction DNA statute.