40-year-old rape conviction at heart of Alice Sebold’s memoir thrown out

40-year-old rape conviction at coronary heart of Alice Sebold’s memoir thrown out


A New York decide has overturned a 40-year-old rape conviction on the heart of a memoir by award-winning novelist Alice Sebold on account of flaws within the prosecution.

Anthony Broadwater, who spent 16 years behind bars, shook with emotion and broke down into tears Monday when a decide overturned his conviction of raping Sebold whereas she was a scholar at Syracuse College.

Sebold, who’s greatest often called the writer of the 2002 novel “The Beautiful Bones,” described her expertise of being raped and overwhelmed when she was 18 in her 1999 memoir, “Fortunate.”

“I by no means, ever, ever thought I’d see the day that I’d be exonerated,” Broadwater, 61, mentioned after his courtroom look in Syracuse on Monday, the Publish-Commonplace of Syracuse reported.

Onondaga County District Lawyer William Fitzpatrick advised the decide that Broadwater’s prosecution was an injustice.

“I’m not going to sully this continuing by saying, ‘I’m sorry.’ That doesn’t reduce it. This could by no means have occurred,” he mentioned.

The DA apologized to Broadwater, who remained on New York’s intercourse offender registry after ending his jail time period in 1999, privately earlier than the courtroom listening to.

“When he spoke to me concerning the improper that was executed to me, I couldn’t assist however cry,” Broadwater mentioned. “The reduction {that a} district lawyer of that magnitude would facet with me on this case, it’s so profound, I don’t know what to say.”

Sebold recounts the expertise in her memoir “Fortunate.”
Leonardo Cendamo/Getty Pictures

In her memoir, Sebold, now 58, described being raped as a freshman in Might 1981 whereas strolling dwelling by way of a park close to campus.

When she reported the crime to police, they advised her {that a} younger girl had as soon as been murdered and dismembered on the similar spot – so that they mentioned she was “fortunate.”

Months later, Sebold noticed a black man on the street that she was sure was her assailant.

“He was smiling as he approached. He acknowledged me. It was a stroll within the park to him; he had met an acquaintance on the road,” wrote Sebold, who’s white. “‘Hey, lady,’ he mentioned. ‘Don’t I do know you from someplace?’”

She mentioned she didn’t reply.

“I appeared instantly at him. Knew his face had been the face over me within the tunnel,” Sebold wrote.

A sweep of the world did not find a suspect however an officer prompt he should have been Broadwater, who had supposedly been noticed within the space.

Anthony Broadwater
Broadwater was visibly emotional in courtroom as his sentence was overturned.
Katrina Tulloch/The Publish-Commonplace through AP

However after Broadwater was arrested, Sebold did not determine him in a lineup, choosing a unique man as her assailant as a result of “the expression in his eyes advised me that if we have been alone, if there have been no wall between us, he would name me by identify after which kill me.”

Broadwater — whom Sebold gave the pseudonym Gregory Madison in her novel — was in the end convicted after she recognized him on the witness stand and an skilled mentioned microscopic hair evaluation had tied him to the crime.

Nonetheless, that kind of research is now thought-about junk science by the US Division of Justice.

“Sprinkle some junk science onto a defective identification, and it’s the right recipe for a wrongful conviction,” Broadwater’s lawyer David Hammond advised the Publish-Commonplace.

Messages to Sebold despatched by way of her writer and her literary company searching for remark weren’t instantly returned.

Broadwater, who has labored as a trash hauler and a handyman, advised The Related Press that the rape conviction broken his job prospects and his relationships with pals and kinfolk.

Even after he married a lady who believed in his innocence, Broadwater by no means wished to have youngsters.

“We had an enormous argument generally about youngsters, and I advised her I might by no means, ever enable youngsters to come back into this world with a stigma on my again,” he advised the information company, including that he was nonetheless crying tears of pleasure and reduction for being cleared.

“I’m so elated, the chilly can’t even hold me chilly,” mentioned Broadwater, who reportedly handed a polygraph take a look at as soon as for which he paid $300.

Alice Sebold wrote the 1999 memoir "Lucky" about being raped as a Syracuse University student.
Sebold wrote the 1999 memoir “Fortunate” about being raped as a Syracuse College scholar.
Simon & Schuster

Sebold’s guide “The Beautiful Bones,” concerning the rape and homicide of a teenage lady, received the American Booksellers Affiliation Ebook of the Yr Award for Grownup Fiction in 2003 and was made right into a film starring Saoirse Ronan, Susan Sarandon and Stanley Tucci.

“Fortunate,” which is also being was a Netflix film that includes Victoria Pedretti within the function of Sebold, led to a re-examination of Broadwater case, in response to his legal professionals, the Publish-Commonplace reported.

Tim Mucciante, who has a manufacturing firm referred to as Purple Badge Movies, signed on to assist produce the film however mentioned he turned skeptical of Broadwater’s guilt when the primary draft of the script got here out as a result of it differed a lot from the memoir.

“I began poking round and attempting to determine what actually occurred right here,” Mucciante advised The AP on Tuesday.

He mentioned that after dropping out of the undertaking he employed a non-public investigator, who put him in contact with Hammond and Melissa Swartz of the Syracuse-based agency CDH Regulation.

They credited the district lawyer for taking a private curiosity within the case and understanding that scientific advances have shed doubt on using hair evaluation, which had been used at Broadwater’s trial to hyperlink him to the crime.

Merrill Stephen Kaszubinski, a forensic chemist who testified at trial, admitted that there was a “risk” the rapist’s hair may need belonged to another person,” the Publish-Commonplace reported.

In 2016, then-FBI Director James Comey additionally acknowledged “issues” with the best way hair evaluation was used throughout trials earlier than the early Nineteen Nineties, the paper mentioned.

Alice Sebold  police lineup
Sebold failed to select the proper man out of this picture lineuo when it was introduced to her.

Sebold wrote that when she was knowledgeable that she’d picked somebody apart from the person she’d beforehand recognized as her attacker, she mentioned the 2 appeared “virtually equivalent.”

She wrote that she realized the protection can be “a panicked white lady noticed a black man on the road. He spoke familiarly to her and in her thoughts she related this to her rape. She was accusing the improper man.”

In gentle of Broadwater’s exoneration, the destiny of the movie adaptation of “Fortunate” was unclear.

The AP left messages searching for remark with Netflix and with its new government producer, Jonathan Bronfman of Toronto-based JoBro Productions.



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