DNA links two men in prison to a 1983 cold case that originally sent the wrong man to prison for 37 years

Amos Robinson and Abron Scott allegedly raped and murdered 19-year-old Grams, whose beaten body was found behind a dental office in Tampa Heights on August 18, 1983, Hillsborough County State’s Attorney Andrew Warren said during of a press conference on Thursday after his suspension. as State’s Attorney by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for his stance against the criminalization of abortion providers.

A grand jury indicted Robinson and Scott on Thursday with the rape and murder of Linda Lansen, whose beaten body was found at Town and Country in July 1983 in bushes with a gunshot wound to the head, Warren said.

“These two men not only robbed me, they also robbed a 7-year-old girl of her mother,” Linda Sheffield, Lansen’s niece, said at Thursday’s press conference.

“When they are initially murdered the shock is there, but 39 years later the shock is gone,” she said. “But the emptiness remains, the pain remains and the crying remains. It’s not going away.”

Robinson and Scott also face other cold case investigations from the same period in the Tampa Bay area, Warren said.

“We now know that these two men committed a sinister series of rapes and murders in Tampa Bay during the summer and fall of 1983,” Warren said.

It is not known if Robinson and Scott have attorneys at this time.

DNA evidence leads to exoneration and new conviction

In 2018, Warren’s office created a Conviction Review Unit to help overturn and prevent wrongful convictions. Two years later, Robert DuBoise, who spent 37 years in prison for the rape and murder of Grams, was exonerated.

“Our investigation has found DNA evidence that establishes that Robert did not murder Barbara Grams; however, this DNA evidence has provided new leads and launched a new investigation,” Warren said.

The DNA sample which did not contain material from DuBoise was analyzed against a national database of DNA samples from convicted felons and led investigators to Scott and Robinson, who were already serving life sentences in a Florida prison for a murder they committed in Pinellas County in October. of 1983, Warren said.

With this information, investigators were able to build a case for Grams’ murder and open a cold-blooded investigation into Lansen’s murder.

At the time of DuBoise’s trial, there was no physical or circumstantial evidence linking DuBoise to the attack, according to The Florida Innocence Project.

Prior to his sentencing, he was transported to Hillsborough County Jail. A prison informant who spoke with DuBoise later falsely testified that DuBoise confessed to the crime while in prison, the Florida Innocence Project said.

“I’m sad for the families who have waited so long for true closure,” DuBoise told CNN on Friday. “I spent 37 years in prison for a crime of which I was totally innocent. This is what happens when the police focus on the wrong person, invent evidence that matches their theory and do not investigate to find out the truth. Lives are ruined and communities are less secure.”

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