In 1946, Rose Willett, a female cab driver in Presque Isle, Maine, was assaulted by a passenger in her cab. Shortly after the assault, Edward A. Hodsdon, a 28-year-old white laborer from the Presque Isle area, was arrested in connection with the attack. Hodsdon fit the physical description of the attacker and was wearing clothes that fit the description of those worn by the attacker as well. Additionally, his foot fit the boot that had been worn by the attacker and used in the assault.
In November 1946, Hodsdon, charged with assault with intent to rape, went to trial for this attack. He pleaded his innocence at trial, but was convicted in Aroostook County, Maine, on November 19, 1946, and sentenced to fifteen years in prison.
Nearly six years later, in July 1952, Edward Kennison, a man from the same area who was two years younger than Hodsdon, was arrested on a morals charge involving an 8-year-old girl. When police spoke with him following his arrest, Kennison confessed to the 1946 attack on Rose Willett.
On August 7, 1952, Hodsdon was pardoned by Governor Frederick G. Payne and released from prison. “It’s wonderful, but everything’s still a turmoil in my mind,” Hodsdon said upon his release.
– Meghan Barrett Cousino
The National Registry of Exonerations is a project of the Newkirk Center for Science & Society at University of California Irvine, the University of Michigan Law School and Michigan State University College of Law. It was founded in 2012 in conjunction with the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law. The Registry provides detailed information about every known exoneration in the United States since 1989—cases in which a person was wrongly convicted of a crime and later cleared of all the charges based on new evidence of innocence. The Registry also maintains a more limited database of known exonerations prior to 1989.
We welcome new information from any source about exonerations already on our list and about cases not in the Registry that might be exonerations.