Imagine if you didn't commit a heinous crime and were still accused of it? It would be a dreadful ordeal. However, the experience would be absolutely hellish if you actually got convicted for the crime and ended up spending the better part of four decades behind bars. This is what happened to Robert DuBoise, a now 56-year old man whose entire youth was destroyed in this way.

It was way back in 1983 that he was convicted by a court on charges of raping and murdering a 19-year old girl in Tampa, Florida, and sentenced to life imprisonment. Finally, his innocence has been proven and he became a free man on Thursday. DuBoise's newfound freedom is the result of recent findings which falsified the key evidence that led to him being held guilty.

Robert DuBois
Robert DuBois was freed from jail after 37 years on Thursday Florida Department of Corrections

Original case

In 1983, the judge ordered a life sentence based on a bite-mark on the face of the victim. The testimony of a jailhouse informant was also crucial. However, when lawyers working with the Innocence Project and officials of Hillsborough County Conviction Review Unit relooked at the evidence and used the latest technology to review it, they found the case crumbling.

The mark on the face proved to be not from a bite and the informer whose testimony was so important was found to be not credible. Another push in favor of the jailed man was the discovery of certain objects this month that also clearly pointed towards the innocence of DuBoise. As a result, the case was reopened and the unfortunate man ordered to be released from prison.

Barbara Grams
Barbara Grams was the victim in the case Office of Hillsborough County State Attorney

Need for justice

"Wrongful convictions erode the foundation of our justice system. For 37 years, we've had an innocent man locked up in prison while the real perpetrator was never held accountable for this heinous crime. The family of the victim, Barbara Grams, deserves to have the truth, and this new evidence helps reveal that truth to all of us," the state Attorney's press release stated.

The starring role in the entire operation to earn freedom for DuBoise was played by Teresa Hill. A supervising attorney in the Hillsborough County Conviction Review Unit, Hill went through the entire case files to examine the evidence used in the case. Eventually, she located the rape kit evidence from the trial and used DNA testing to clear the convicted man's name.

One would forgive DuBoise for being extremely bitter about his experience and loss of a large part of his life. But the newly released man is not in a mood for recriminations. He wants to move on in life. "If you keep hatred and bitterness in your heart, you don't have room for anything else. I'm just very grateful," he told media after his release from a prison in Florida.