April 11, 2007
Man admits to slaying for which Earl Washington Jr. was convicted
By the Associated Press
CULPEPER, Va. -- Kenneth Maurice Tinsley pleaded guilty Wednesday to the
1982 rape and capital murder of a Culpeper woman _ a crime for which Earl
Washington Jr. spent nearly a decade on death row and was nearly executed.
Tinsley admitted he raped Rebecca Lynn Williams, a 19-year-old mother of
three, in her apartment on June 4, 1982. He also conceded that prosecutors'
evidence, which included DNA, could have proved his guilt beyond a
reasonable doubt when it came to her murder.
Under the terms of a plea agreement, he was sentenced to two consecutive
life terms by Culpeper County Circuit Court Judge John R. Cullen.
Tinsley, 62, already serving two life terms for a rape in Albemarle County,
sat in a wheelchair as he told the judge Wednesday, "I'm sorry for
everything I did."
Washington, a mildly retarded man, confessed to the crime but later
recanted. A Charlottesville jury found that in 1983, former Virginia State
Police investigator Curtis Reese Wilmore gave Washington details of the
crime that only the killer could have known in order to bolster Washington's
Wilmore has since died.
Washington was still sentenced to death and came within nine days of being
executed in 1985.
In 2000, DNA testing implicated Tinsley and then-Gov. Jim Gilmore pardoned
Washington in 2002.
Washington then filed a lawsuit in an attempt to clear his name. Last month,
Virginia struck a tentative deal to pay $1.9 million to Washington, a step
down from the $2.25 million verdict a federal jury issued in May.
Cullen, special prosecutor Rick Moore and Joseph T. Flood, one of Tinsley's
lawyers, were hopeful Wednesday's proceedings would bring closure to both
the Williams family and the community.
Source : Associated Press