McAuliffe pardons ‘Norfolk 4’ sailors

Retired FBI agent Jay Cochran, at podium, speaks during a news conference on the murder convictions of the Norfolk Four in Richmond, Va., Monday, Nov. 10, 2008. Cochran was joined by other retired FBI agents in asking the Governor to grant pardons for the four sailors convicted of raping and killing an 18-year-old Norfolk woman in 1997. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has pardoned four former sailors who became known as the “Norfolk Four” as they fought rape and murder convictions, saying police intimidated them into falsely confessing to the crimes two decades ago.

A spokesman for McAuliffe told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the governor has pardoned the four men in the 1997 rape and killing of Michelle Moore-Bosko.

DNA evidence matched a fifth man, Omar Ballard, to the crimes. He confessed to being the only one responsible.

The “Norfolk Four” are already out of prison. Three of them previously had their convictions thrown out.

The fourth, Eric Wilson, was unable to get his conviction overturned in court because of a technicality, but he has already completed his sentence.

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