Incident Date: February 18, 2001
Jurisdiction: Thirteenth Circuit
Year of Conviction: 1993
Exoneration Date: April 24, 2018
Sentence Served: 17 Years
Real perpetrator found? Not Yet
Contributing Causes: Eyewitness Misidentification
Compensation? Not Yet
After serving 17 years, IPF successfully vacated Dwight’s 2001 Tampa murder conviction on April 24th, 2018 based on exculpatory DNA evidence. Dwight DuBose was convicted of murder in Hillsborough County and sentenced to life without parole in 2001.
Victim Fred Mobley Jr. was found strangled in the area of Jackson Heights, Tampa on February 18th, 2001. A man named Seymour approached the investigators several days after the crime because he was concerned that people were trying to connect him to the murder. He claimed that he had attempted to sell Mobley crack cocaine that morning. After watching Mobley leave, he saw a man grab him into a choke hold before he left the scene. Seymour identified DuBose as the attacker, as did three other eyewitnesses. DuBose said that he had been in the area that
morning, but had no connection to the murder of Mobley. Additionally, there was no physical evidence linking DuBose to the murder.
After being in prison for 7 years, DuBose reached out to the Innocence Project of Florida in 2007. In 2011, they filed a request for DNA testing. Apparently, when Mobley had been strangled, he was wearing a glove on one of his hands. Attorneys believed that he would have reached out with his opposite ungloved and attempted to scratch his attacker, leaving a trace of DNA under his fingernails. In 2014, the DNA found under Mobley’s fingernails did not match DuBose’s.
Even though DuBose’s murder conviction was overturned, the State refused to drop the case and sought to retry Dwight. IPF, with the help of local counsel George Tragos, was able to resolve the case paving the way for Dwight’s immediate release. On April 24th, 2018, Dwight’s son, grandchildren, and IPF staff greeted him as he walked out a free man. He is now living with family in Tampa, Florida.