Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Victor Burnette

First Name Victor
Last NameBurnette
Year of Conviction1979
Year of Exoneration2009
State of ConvictionVirginia
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaTrial
Type of CrimeRape
Death SentenceNo
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeWhite
Type of Innocence Defense
  • Alibi
Description / Quotes from Testimony Concerning Defense

● Defendant’s grandmother testified about his whereabouts the day of the crime; he lived at her house.

Did the defendant testify at trial?Yes
Quotes from Exoneree Testimony

He testified about his whereabouts the day of the crime and denied committed the crime, stating “No, sir” and that he never knew that a woman lived in the boarding house where the crime took place.

Types of evidence at trial
  • Eyewitness
  • Forensic Evidence
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • Hair
  • Serology
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • Invalid
  • Vague
Reason why invalid(1) Masking
Brief Quote / Description of Testimony

The analyst testified that one of the hairs was “consistent” with the defendant and “could have” come from him. The analyst also observed blood group substances entirely consistent with the victim, yet claimed that as a non-secretor, the defendant was “any one of 88 percent” of the population that could have been a contributor.

Identity of eyewitness
  • Intraracial Identificaiton
  • Victim
Lineup Procedures
  • Composite drawing
  • Showup
Suggestive Procedures

No ● Show-up – but conducted shortly after the incident

Unreliable Identification?

No ● Discrepancies in description – facial hair and glasses

Quotes from testimony #2

Described attacker as “About five eight, 160 pounds, long blond hair, blue jeans, mustache, beard.” Victim testified, however, that attacker had “curly” hair and she was “unclear” on whether he had a beard or not. Defendant wore glasses, without which he could not see well due to eye injury. He wore a beard and did not have curly hair. Defendant was 5’8” but weighed only 140 pounds.

Highest level reachedNR
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