In March 2000, Antonio Mitchell and Pete Holland were robbed at gun point on a street in Hampton, Virginia. A month later, Mitchell identified 17-year-old Teddy Thompson, who had a previous robbery and assault conviction, as the robber in a photo lineup. Holland, however, steadfastly maintained that Thompson was not the robber. Thompson’s attorney tried to subpoena Holland, but could not locate him, so Thompson went to trial without his testimony. Mitchell identified Thompson as the robber at trial. Though Thompson presented an alibi, a jury found him guilty of armed robbery and possession and use of a firearm during the commission of a felony in March 2001. He was sentenced to16 years.
Six years later, in 2006, Mitchell contacted the Hampton police and told them he had identified the wrong man. An acquaintance of Mitchell had told him who the real robber was and, when Mitchell confronted him, he apologized for the robbery. After talking with Mitchell, the prosecutor moved to have Thompson’s conviction set aside. In September 2007, a Hampton County Circuit Court judge vacated Thompson’s conviction. The Virginia Legislature subsequently awarded him approximately $260,000 in compensation and $10,000 in tuition assistance.
- Stephanie Denzel