Conviction overturned in rape by ‘Lovely Bones’ author 40 years later

A verdict in the rape of Alice Sebold, the award-winning author of “The Lovely Bones,” has been overturned 40 years later due to serious misconduct by prosecutors, officials said.

Anthony Broadwater, 61, was acquitted on Monday by New York Supreme Court Justice Gordon Cuffy on charges of assaulting Sebold when she was an 18-year-old freshman at Syracuse University in 1981. Sebold, now 58, wrote about attacks in her 1999 memoirs. , “Lucky”.

Sebold selected another man, not Broadwater, in a police lineup after the assault, but later identified Broadwater as her attacker at the witness stand.

She wrote in “Lucky” that Broadwater and the second man in the row looked “almost identical” and that she feared a defense attorney would exploit a white woman’s confusion over two black men.

Broadwater spent 16 years in prison and had been on New York’s register of sex offenders since his release in 1999. He will now be removed from the list.

Broadwater dropped his head in his hands and sobbed as the referee cleared him. (Watch the video above.) “I never, ever thought I would see the day I would be acquitted,” he said after the hearing.

“I have been crying tears of joy and relief for the last few days,” Broadwater told the Associated Press the next day. “I’m so excited that even the cold can not keep me cold.”

He told The New York Times, “I’m just hoping and praying that Mrs. Sebold might come forward and say, ‘Hey, I made a serious mistake,’ and apologize. ‘I sympathize with her. But she was wrong. “

Broadwater told of the damage the sentence had on his life, even after his release from prison. He refused to have children because of the stigma of the verdict, he told the Syracuse Post-Standard.

At his hearing, Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick called Broadwater’s verdict an injustice.

“I’m not going to scam this procedure by saying ‘sorry,'” Fitzpatrick said. “It does not beat it. This should never have happened.”

Broadwater was convicted mainly because of Sebold’s identification and because an expert witness testified that microscopic hair analysis had bound him to the rape. The validity of such analyzes has since been ruled out by the Ministry of Justice. It was the only alleged forensic connection to the crime.

The investigation into the case against Broadwater increased after “Lucky” was picked up in 2019 for a Netflix movie.

Executive producer Tim Mucciante began questioning the verdict as he scrutinized the script and Sebold’s memoirs. He eventually dropped the project and hired a private detective in an investigation that ended in Fitzpatrick’s office. It is unclear what will happen to the film now.

Sebold, who lives in San Francisco, could not be reached for comment.

Her most notable novel, “The Lovely Bones”, is about the rape and murder of a teenage girl. The bestseller was made into a movie in 2009.

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