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Criminal Justice

Lawyer Vindicated After Long Fight for Wrongfully Convicted Brother

Posted Jul 15, 2009 11:27 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A Massachusetts lawyer portrayed by Hilary Swank in a recently completed movie says a $3.4 million settlement vindicates the years she spent fighting for the release of her wrongfully convicted brother.

Betty Anne Waters worked her way through law school and became a lawyer at the age of 40 to fight for her brother, Kenneth Waters, the Boston Globe reports. Kenneth Waters spent 18 years in prison after being convicted of murdering a woman who lived in a mobile home near his house in Ayer, Mass.

He was released in 2001 after Betty Waters uncovered blood evidence from the crime scene in a courthouse basement; DNA tests revealed it did not belong to Kenneth Waters, the story says. A suit filed against the city of Ayer claimed a police officer falsely testified that fingerprints found at the crime scene were smeared and useless, when in reality they did not match Kenneth Waters’ prints.

Kenneth Waters died in a fall six months after his release from prison. “Of course, I wish he was here,’’ Betty Waters told the Globe. She said she has spent half of her life fighting on behalf of her brother. “I can’t quite feel that it’s over. It’s been a long 27 years.’’

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