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DNA exonerates Virginia man wrongfully convicted in 1976 murder, sodomy of 3-year-old

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The Virginia Court of Appeals announced today that it issued a writ of actual innocence to Marvin Grimm, who was wrongfully convicted of murder, abduction and sodomy in Richmond City Circuit Court in 1976.

The Court agreed with the Office of the Attorney General and attorneys for Grimm that modern DNA and toxicology evidence excluded Grimm from any involvement in the death of the 3-year-old victim.

Grimm was convicted of first-degree murder, abduction and sodomy and sentenced to life in prison on March 15, 1976. He served 44 years in prison and was released on parole in 2019. DNA and other scientific analysis performed between 2002 and 2023 demonstrated that the evidence the Commonwealth relied upon to convict Grimm was invalid, leading Attorney General Jason Miyares to support Grimm’s exoneration.

“The case of Marvin Grimm is a textbook example of why Virginia provides actual innocence relief. For the American experiment in self-government to continue to thrive, the government must be willing to admit when it makes mistakes. It is an honor to stand up for Mr. Grimm’s innocence in this case,” Miyares said.

Grimm’s exoneration is the second exoneration secured by Miyares in two months, and the third obtained with support from the Miyares administration. On May 21, 2024, after Miyares filed a notice in support of petitioner Keshawn Duffy, the Virginia Court of Appeals exonerated Duffy from wrongful convictions and two consecutive life sentences for forcible sodomy.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.