Kenneth Tinsley pleaded guilty on April 11 to the 1982 rape and capital murder of a Culpeper woman - a crime for which another man, Earl Washington Jr., spent nearly a decade on death row and was nearly executed. Tinsley admitted to the rape of Rebecca Lynn Williams, a 19-year-old mother of 3, and conceded that DNA and other evidence could have proved his guilt of her murder.
He was sentenced to 2 consecutive life terms. Earl Washington, who is mentally retarded, had originally been convicted of the same crime and was sentenced to death before DNA evidence convinced Virginia's governor that he was innocent. Recently, Virginia tentatively agreed to pay $1.9 million to Washington in compensation.
Tinsley, who is already serving 2 life terms for another rape in Virginia, sat in a wheelchair as he told the judge, "I'm sorry for everything I did. The prosecutor said that he hoped the plea agreement would bring closure to the victim's family and to the community.