Wrongly Convicted Database Record


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Betty Tyson





25 years to life imprisonment

Years Imprisoned:


Year Crime:

Year Convicted:


Year Cleared:


U.S. State or Country of Crime:

New York

County or Region of Crime:


City of Crime:



Judicially Exonerated Released

Summary of Case:

"Betty Tyson was codefendant of John Duval. Betty Tyson falseley confessed to killing a 52-year-old white man after being handcuffed to a chair and beaten and kicked by police for 12 hours. No physical evidence linked her to the crime, and her car tires were different than the killer's tire tracks. 12 white man jury convicted her. One of 2 witnesses said police put a gun to his head and said they would kill him if he didn't testify against her. Detective in her case convicted in 1980 of faking evidence in another case. Betty Tyson filed a claim for $12.5 million with the New York Court of Claims that was denied on August 4, 1999. Betty Tyson filed a claim against the City of Rochester that in November 1998 the city agreed to settle for $1,250,000."

Conviction Caused By:

"False confession, fabricated eyewitness testimony, police perjury, prosecutorial concealment of exonerating witness statement."

Innocence Proved By:

Prosecutorial misconduct & Brady violation. 'Rochester Democrat & Chronicle' (NY) reporter Gary Craig became interested in Tyson's case and he found a jail counselor who reported her 1973 beating to his superiors the day after it occurred. A law firm took her case pro bono and they found a hidden police witness statement from the 2nd witness that he never saw Tyson with the victim - the opposite of what the police forced him to testify to at her trial. Both teenage witnesses were held as 'material witnesses' in jail for 7 months until her trial and threatened with being charged with murder if they didn't perjure themselves.

Defendant Aided By:

Local newspaper reporter Gary Craig

Compensation Awarded:

"$1.25 million (City of Rochester, Nov. 1998)"

Was Perpetrator Identified?

Age When Imprisoned:


Age When Released:





Information Source 1:

ABC News (website) 2-07-99

Information Location 1:


Information Source 2:

The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle won the fourth annual Freedom of Information award for an investigation that culminated in the overturning of the conviction of Betty Tyson who had spent 25 years in prison after a wrongful murder charge and conviction.

Information Location 2:


Information Source 3:

"Tyson gets $1.25 million: Rochester voluntarily pays out to woman wrongfully convicted of murder in 1973, By Gary Craig, Democrate and Chronicle (Rochester, NY), November 24, 1998"

Information Location 3:

Information Source 4:

"State Won't Pay Woman For 25 Years in Prison, By Associated Press, The New York Times, August 7, 1999"

Information Location 4:


Information Source 5:

Information Location 5:

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Innocents Database Created and Maintained by Hans Sherrer innocents@forejustice.org

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