The Virginia Supreme Court has exonerated a man who was convicted of abducting a woman and her two children from an Interstate 95 rest stop in Prince William County in 1976.
The justices granted a writ of actual innocence to Garry Diamond after DNA testing eliminated him as the contributor of bodily fluids found on the woman's clothing.
The state's Department of Forensic Science has been reviewing old case files that contain biological evidence collected before DNA testing was available, and the mistake in Diamond's case was discovered as part of that project.
"It's another DNA exoneration out of Virginia, which goes to show that unfortunately there have been far more errors than people realize," said Diamond's lawyer, Shawn Armbrust of the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project.
The Virginia attorney general's office supported Diamond's petition for a writ of actual innocence, which was granted Friday.
"It shows that when people are working together, these errors can be rectified fairly quickly and with little acrimony," Armbrust said.
She said the ongoing case reviews have cleared eight people in Virginia.
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said in a written statement that his office "has a responsibility to see that justice is done in every case, regardless of which side of the courtroom that justice may fall."
Diamond served nearly three years of a 15-year sentence for two separate abductions a month apart. He admitted guilt in one incident but maintained he was innocent of the other.
Armbrust said the former Woodbridge resident now lives out of state and did not want to comment.