Advertisement
  1. News

He spent 17 years in prison. Now he's a free man.

Dwight DuBose (center) stands with Seth Miller (right) and Anthony Scott (left) of the Innocence Project of Florida and Anthony Scott. They helped secure DuBose's freedom on Tuesday night after he spent 17 years in prison. [DAN SULLIVAN | Times]
Published Apr. 25, 2018

TAMPA — Dwight DuBose walked out of the Orient Road Jail on Tuesday night after trading an orange jumpsuit for a brand new polo shirt and slacks.

It was about 9 p.m. He flashed a broad smile and hugged staff members of the Innocence Project of Florida who helped secure his release.

Then, the 45-year-old former prison inmate headed over to his mom's house for his first home-cooked meal in 17 years.

"It's been a long time," he said. "I'm kind of nervous about going out there. We live in a fast society."

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: DNA, new plea set man free 17 years after Tampa murder

DuBose was released after DNA testing cast doubt on his guilt in a 2001 Tampa murder. Although he still maintains his innocence, he agreed Tuesday to plead guilty to a lesser charge of second-degree murder in exchange for a declaration of time served.

He said he felt it was in his best interest to take the deal, rather than risk being handed another life sentence if he were found guilty at a new trial.

His case centered on the Feb. 18, 2001 slaying of Fred Mobley Jr., 47, who was found strangled in a vacant lot in the Jackson Heights area of Tampa.

Although no physical evidence linked DuBose to the crime, a handful of witnesses said he was the perpetrator. He was sent to prison. Years later, the Innocence Project of Florida sought to test DNA from the victim's fingernails.

When the results came back in 2014, they revealed that the DNA did not match DuBose.

New doubts about his guilt prompted Hillsborough Circuit Judge Lisa Campbell to order a new trial. The plea was negotiated before that could happen.

He headed home for a meal with his mother: pork chops, yellow rice, black beans and vanilla pudding. He went with his son and four grandchildren, whom he has never known outside prison walls.

DuBose said he doesn't know what his future holds.

"Anything can change," he said.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. The main exhibit center at the Museum of Science & Industry in Tampa once stirred the imagination with dinosaurs and stars. Now, it's empty, but on the verge of rebirth as a movie studio.
    The County Commission has set aside $2 million for the project as the Film Commission studies the demand for it.
  2. President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in the East Room of the White House, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) PATRICK SEMANSKY  |  AP
    Hunter Biden worked for a Ukrainian gas company.
  3. Reclaimed water rates are increasing 6 percent in St. Petersburg.
    Potable, waste and reclaimed water fees will all increase. So will garbage fees, though the stormwater fee will drop for some.
  4. Joshua Russell, 26, faces a charge of aggravated manslaughter, according to deputies. Pinellas County Sheriff's Office
    A dose of kratom caused the caretaker to fall asleep for hours inside the hot car with the disabled man in the back seat, investigators said.
  5. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor announces federal grants Friday that will equip at least 600 officers with body cameras. CHARLIE FRAGO  |  Charlie Frago
    Mayor Jane Castor announces a nearly $600,000 Department of Justice grant Friday.
  6. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri spoke Friday about a child protection investigator who was arrested on charges of falsifying reports. JOSH SOLOMON  |  Josh Solomon
    It’s the second time in two years a Pinellas child protection investigator has faced falsification charges.
  7. Stay with tampabay.com for the latest news and updates. Times
    The Challenger K-8 student didn’t have access to a gun, deputies said.
  8. Life changed for Chad Cagley with the birth of daughter Aaliyah, now 3. Cagley was killed Monday when a drunk driver slammed into the back of his motorcycle on Interstate 75, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. FAMILY PHOTO  |  Courtesy Stephanie Coomes
    The drunk driver who ran into Chad Cagley was caught after a witness followed him, troopers said.
  9. Former Tarpon Springs police Officer Steven Bergren, seen in this 2012 picture with his K-9 partner Dobies Jr. Bergren resigned before he could be fired by the Tarpon Springs Police Department for threatening a mass shooting. Bergren said he was joking. Tampa Bay Times
    The detective said he was joking. The Tarpon Springs Police Department said it would have fired him had he not resigned.
  10. A student holds a sign while participating in a "Global Climate Strike" at the Experiential School of Greensboro in Greensboro, N.C., on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. Across the globe, hundreds of thousands of young people took the streets Friday to demand that leaders tackle climate change in the run-up to a U.N. summit. KHADEJEH NIKOUYEH/NEWS & RECORD  |  AP
    With a coastline stretching 1,350 miles, Florida faces some of the gravest risks from rising ocean levels.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement