July 6, 2007
Governor Kaine issued an absolute pardon to a man that spent nearly a decade on Virginia's death row for a murder that he did not commit.
Earl Washington Jr. came within nine days of being executed for a murder he didn't commit. Washington was convicted for the 1982 rape and murder of Rebecca Lynn Williams in Culpeper.
Washington, who is mildly retarded, gave a false confession to the crime but later recanted. He was sentenced to death and came within nine days of execution in 1985.
In 2000 DNA implicated another man, Kenneth Tinsley, for the crime. Tinsley pleaded guilty earlier this year to killing Williams. Washington was pardoned by Governor Gilmore in 2002, but the pardon did not state that he was innocent, but instead that a jury would not convicted him in light of the DNA evidence.
In the pardon Kaine wrote and issued Tuesday he said that he believed it was "just and appropriate" to issue a revised pardon for Washington, who is now 47.