Conviction overturned in 1981 rape of ‘The Lovely Bones’ author Alice Sebold

A rape conviction on the center of a memoir by award-winning author Alice Sebold has been overturned as a result of what authorities determined had been extreme flaws with the 1982 prosecution and issues the mistaken man had been despatched to jail.

Anthony Broadwater, who spent 16 years in jail, was cleared Monday by a select of raping Sebold when she was a pupil at Syracuse School, an assault she wrote about in her 1999 memoir, “Lucky.”

Broadwater shook with emotion, sobbing as his head fell into his arms, as a result of the select in Syracuse vacated his conviction on the request of prosecutors.

“I’ve been crying tears of enjoyment and help the ultimate couple of days,” Broadwater, 61, knowledgeable The Associated Press on Tuesday. “I’m so elated, the chilly can’t even maintain me chilly.”

Onondaga County District Authorized skilled William Fitzpatrick knowledgeable state Supreme Court docket docket Justice Gordon Cuffy on the court docket docket listening to that Broadwater’s prosecution was an injustice, The Put up-Customary of Syracuse reported.

“I’m not going to sully this persevering with by saying, ‘I’m sorry.’ That doesn’t decrease it,” Fitzpatrick acknowledged. “This might under no circumstances have occurred.”

Sebold, 58, wrote in “Lucky” of being raped as a first-year pupil at Syracuse in Might 1981 after which recognizing a Black man on the road months later that she was constructive was her attacker.

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

She acknowledged she didn’t reply: “I appeared immediately at him. Knew his face had been the face over me inside the tunnel.”

Sebold went to police, nonetheless she didn’t know the particular person’s title and an preliminary sweep of the realm didn’t discover him. An officer suggested the particular person on the road might want to have been Broadwater, who had supposedly been seen inside the house. Sebold gave Broadwater the pseudonym Gregory Madison in her information.

After Broadwater was arrested, though, Sebold didn’t set up him in a police lineup, deciding on a definite man as her attacker because of “the expression in his eyes knowledgeable me that if we had been alone, if there have been no wall between us, he would identify me by title after which kill me.”

Broadwater was nonetheless tried and convicted in 1982 based totally largely on two gadgets of proof. On the witness stand, Sebold acknowledged him as her rapist. And an expert acknowledged microscopic hair analysis had tied Broadwater to the crime. That sort of research has since been deemed junk science by the U.S. Division of Justice.

“Sprinkle some junk science onto a faulty identification, and it’s the correct recipe for a wrongful conviction,” Broadwater’s authorized skilled, David Hammond, knowledgeable the Put up-Customary.

Sebold did not reply to messages looking for comment despatched via her author and her literary firm.

Broadwater remained on New York’s intercourse offender registry after ending his jail time interval in 1999.

Broadwater, who has labored as a trash hauler and a handyman inside the years since his launch from jail, knowledgeable the AP that the rape conviction blighted his job prospects and his relationships with household and pals members.

Even after he married a woman who believed in his innocence, Broadwater under no circumstances wished to have children.

“We had an infinite argument usually about kids, and I knowledgeable her I could under no circumstances, ever allow kids to come back again into this world with a stigma on my once more,” he acknowledged.

Together with “Lucky,” Sebold is the author of the novels “The Stunning Bones” and “The Almost Moon.”

“The Stunning Bones,” regarding the rape and murder of a teenage lady, acquired the American Booksellers Affiliation E-book of the 12 months Award for Grownup Fiction in 2003 and was made proper into a movie starring Saoirse Ronan, Susan Sarandon and Stanley Tucci.

“Lucky” was moreover inside the technique of being filmed, and it was due to the film mission itself that Broadwater’s conviction was overturned after 4 a very long time.

Tim Mucciante, who has a producing agency known as Purple Badge Motion pictures, had signed on as govt producer of the variation nonetheless grew to develop into skeptical of Broadwater’s guilt when the first draft of the script obtained right here out because of it differed quite a bit from the information.

“I started poking spherical and trying to find out what truly occurred proper right here,” Mucciante knowledgeable the AP on Tuesday.

Mucciante acknowledged that after dropping out of the mission earlier this 12 months he employed a personal investigator, who put him in touch with Hammond, of Syracuse-based CDH Laws, who launched in fellow safety lawyer Melissa Swartz, of Cambareri & Brenneck.

Hammond and Swartz credited Fitzpatrick for taking a personal curiosity inside the case and understanding that scientific advances have stable doubt on the utilization of hair analysis, the one sort of forensic proof that was produced at Broadwater’s trial to hyperlink him to Sebold’s rape.

The future of the film adaptation of “Lucky” was unclear in delicate of Broadwater’s exoneration. A message looking for comment was left with its new govt producer, Jonathan Bronfman of Toronto-based JoBro Productions.

Sebold wrote in “Lucky” that when she was educated that she’d picked any individual aside from the particular person she’d beforehand acknowledged as her rapist, she acknowledged the two males appeared “nearly comparable.”

She wrote that she realized the safety may very well be that: “A panicked white lady seen a black man on the highway. He spoke familiarly to her and in her ideas she linked this to her rape. She was accusing the mistaken man.”