In May 1973, Timothy Haworth was found bludgeoned and strangled to death in Rochester, New York. Police believed he had left his hotel the previous evening in search of a prostitute. Police picked up known transvestite prostitute John Duval and prostitute Betty Tyson. Both Duval and Tyson signed confessions, but later recanted, saying police had beaten them into confessing. Two teenage acquaintances of Tyson’s were taken into custody and held for seven months. They testified at the trials that they saw Tyson and Duval with the victim shortly before the murder. Tyson and Duval were convicted of second-degree murder in separate trials and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
In 1997 one of the teenage witnesses recanted, saying police had coerced his testimony, and a previously unknown police report was discovered which documented that the other teenage witness stated he had not seen Tyson and Duval with the victim. In May 1998, Monroe County Judge John J. Connell overturned Tyson’s conviction because police suppressed the report contradicting a key witness. Duval’s conviction was overturned in April 1999 by Judge David Egan for the same reason. Prosecutors decided not to retry Tyson, who had maintained her innocence, but they pursued the charges against Duval because he had twice told the parole board that he had committed the murder. Duval was acquitted by a jury in February 2000.
Tyson settled a lawsuit with the City of Rochester for $1.2 million. Duval filed a lawsuit as well, but it was dismissed.
- Stephanie Denzel