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October 28, 2022: District Attorney Gascón Announces Conviction of Maurice Hastings Vacated in 1983 Murder

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Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced today that the 1988 murder conviction of Maurice Hastings has been vacated and he has been released from prison.

“What has happened to Mr. Hastings is a terrible injustice,” District Attorney Gascón said. “The justice system is not perfect, and when we learn of new evidence which causes us to lose confidence in a conviction, it is our obligation to act swiftly.”

Hastings, 69, served more than 38 years in state prison for the 1983 murder of Roberta Wydermyer and two attempted murders. Roberta’s body was found in the trunk of her vehicle and the cause of death was a single gunshot wound to her head. The coroner conducted a sexual assault examination which involved swabbing of various body parts, including an oral swab on which semen was detected. Mr. Hastings was charged with a special circumstance murder and this office sought the ultimate punishment of death. After the first jury deadlocked, the second jury convicted him, and he was sentenced in 1988 to life in state prison without the possibility of parole. From the time of his arrest, Mr. Hastings has maintained his innocence.

In 2000, Mr. Hastings requested DNA testing to prove his innocence, but the request was denied by this office. Mr. Hastings submitted a claim of innocence with the District Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit last year and in June of this year, the DNA testing found that the semen on the oral swab was not from Mr. Hastings. Earlier this month, the crime scene DNA profile was uploaded through the state’s Combined DNA Index System. The analysis identified a match to a person in the database who had engaged in and been convicted of an armed kidnapping where he placed his female victim in a trunk of a vehicle as well as the kidnap, rape, and forcible oral copulation of a young woman for which he was sentenced to 56 years in custody.

The Conviction Integrity Unit joined with Mr. Hastings’ counsel at the Los Angeles Innocence Project at Cal State LA on Oct. 20 in requesting that his conviction be vacated and that he be immediately

released from prison. The request was approved by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge William C. Ryan. We are working collaboratively and expeditiously with the Inglewood Police Department to conduct further investigation into the involvement of the deceased suspect in this case.

District Attorney Gascón has made the Conviction Integrity Unit one of his top priorities since taking office and has increased its staffing.

To watch the Oct. 20 court hearing, visit