Wrongful Convictions: A Call To Action
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BETTY ANNE WATERS

On May 12, 1983, Kenneth Waters was wrongfully convicted of first-degree murder for the death of an Ayer, Massachusetts woman. He was sentenced to life in prison based on the testimony of two former girlfriends who claimed he admitted to the crime. Kenneth's younger sister, Betty Anne, devoted her life to proving his innocence. She returned to school to earn her GED, then her bachelors, a master's in education, and eventually a law degree from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island. She accomplished this while raising two boys alone and working as a waitress part-time. While in law school she began investigating her brother's case. She began to correspond with the Innocence Project in New York. Attorney Barry Scheck agreed to assist her in her efforts to exonerate Kenneth. Betty Anne convinced the court to have her brother's DNA tested against blood samples found in a box of evidence from his trial, which she learned during her investigation was in the basement of the courthouse where he was tried and convicted. The samples were tested and led to his exoneration in March 2001.

Betty Anne plans to continue her work helping those wrongfully convicted and is a member of NEIP's network. She also believes that the Commonwealth should assist the exonerated with their reintegration back into society and feels strongly that wrongfully convicted individuals should be provided with sufficient housing, medical coverage, mental health counseling and resources, and financial assistance upon exoneration.

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Last updated April 16, 2002

Copyright © 2002 The President and Fellows of Harvard College