Va. court clears man in 1976 abduction

The Virginia Supreme Court has exonerated a former Woodbridge man of three convictions related to the 1976 abduction of a mother and her two children that ended with the woman being raped.

Garry Diamond was cleared of two abduction convictions and one count of abduction with intent to defile after fresh testing showed his DNA did not match that found in semen taken from the woman’s slacks after the rape.

Diamond is the fourth person exonerated as part of a statewide review of DNA evidence in hundreds of old cases that contained material that was suitable for testing. The convictions were obtained prior to when DNA testing was widely available.

The woman and her two children were abducted from an I-95 rest stop in Prince William County in July 1976, according to court records. The man drove the three to a wooded area, where he raped the woman.

The woman later identified Diamond as the rapist after seeing him in a Prince William County courtroom, where he was on trial for another rape. Diamond admitted his guilt in that case, but always denied he abducted the woman and children from the rest stop. He was never tried for rape in the case.

“This case is another example of how eyewitness identifications can lead to the conviction of innocent people, but we’re thrilled that the Virginia Supreme Court acted quickly in this case,” said Shawn Armbrust, executive director of the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project.

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