In June of 1982, Rebecca Lynn Williams, 19 and white, was raped and murdered in Culpeper. Eleven months later, a 23-year-old black mentally retarded man from Bealeton, Va., Earl Washington Jr., was arrested for the crime. He was tried for capital murder in Culpeper Circuit Court, found guilty by a jury Jan. 20, 1984, and sentenced to death.
More than a decade later, after numerous appeals in the case were denied, Gov. Douglas Wilder, on his last day in office, commuted the sentence from death