BOSTON (CBS) – A Chelsea man was able to walk free after spending decades behind bars for a crime he insists he did not commit. Thomas Rosa’s lawyers say they have the evidence to officially clear his name.
Rosa was released from prison last week after serving 34 years for the 1985 murder of a nurse’s aid in Boston.
It wasn’t until 2015 that The New England Innocence Project and The Boston College Innocence Program got involved in the case. They were able to find new DNA evidence that was overlooked during trial.
“There are a lot of factors that we now know are sort of hallmarks of misidentifications, things like the amount of time the witnesses had to view the perpetrator, the lighting, cross racial identification, the stress, weapons focus,” said Charlotte Whitmore of the Boston College Innocence Program.
“So looking at that and all the red flags, we just had a lot of doubt in Mr. Rosa’s guilt,” Whitmore continued. “And then when we looked even further at all of the DNA results and some of the discrepancies in the DNA that had not been discovered before, it became more and more clear that he truly was innocent.”
Rosa is now free while the Superior Court considers his motion for a new trial.
“I’m just so thrilled for him and thrilled for his family,” said Radha Natarajan of the New England Innocence Project. “I just can’t wait until he is exonerated and I know that that’s coming.”
The New England Innocence project says Rosa plans to start rebuilding his life in the community with the help and support of his friends and family.