Meet the Exonerees

Walter Snyder

State: Virginia
Date of Birth: 1966
Incident Date: Oct-85
Age at Arrest: 19
Conviction Date: Jan-86
Age When Exonerated: 27
Exonerated Date: 04/23/1993
Time Served: 7.5
Conviction: Rape, Sodomy, Burglary
False Confession: No
Implicated by Another Youth: No

Case Details

In October of 1983, a man broke into a young woman's bedroom at her home in Alexandria, Virginia. The man sexually assaulted the woman until she pretended to have a heart attack, at which point he fled the scene. That evening, the woman told police that she would have trouble identifying her assaulter, but three months later, she identified her nineteen-year-old neighbor, Walter "Tony" Snyder, as the man who attacked her. Based on this eyewitness identification, an Alexandria jury convicted Snyder of rape, sodomy, and burglary, and he was sentenced to forty-five years in prison. He consistently maintained his innocence, and his parents dedicated enormous amounts of time and money to get their son exonerated. In 1993, DNA technology improved to the point that it became possible to test the trace amount of semen left at the crime scene the night of the attack. The male DNA excluded Snyder as the perpetrator, and on April 23, 1993, Snyder was released from prison with his record expunged. "I'm not bitter," Snyder said about his wrongful conviction, "Man is so unjust, man to man." Upon his release, Snyder was reunited with his seven-year-old son, who was just one-year-old at the time of Snyder's conviction.