RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) – Former sailor Keith Harward has been in prison for more than 30 years.

In December 1983, a Newport News jury looked at bite marks from a rape victim and decided that Harward attacked and killed her, and her husband, with a crowbar at their home off Warwick Boulevard. Since his conviction Harward has maintained his innocence.

Attorney General Mark Herring now agrees with Harward, saying the Commonwealth got it wrong.

“Anytime I think any of us hears about a wrongful conviction, it’s a tragedy. Mr. Harward spent…33 years in prison for crimes he did not commit, and those are years we cannot give back,” Herring said Wednesday.

Herring’s office filed paperwork this week in support of a petition Harward that sent the Supreme Court of Virginia. According to those documents, the Department of Forensic Science conducted new testing of evidence last year and found Harward was not a match. Herring said another man, Jerry Crotty, is responsible.

Crotty was Harward’s shipmate on the USS Carl Vinson at the time of the crime. He died in an Ohio prison ten years ago, and according to Herring, Crotty’s DNA matched a national data bank.

10 On Your Side talked to Roy Lasris, the lawyer who represented Harward in the murder case, and said he was saddened it has taken so long for someone else to see his client’s innocence.

“I think that the government does have to admit its mistakes, has to be careful about not making the same mistake, and society itself owes a big debt to Mr. Harward,” Lasris said.

Lasris said the evidence at trial did not point to his client. The only thing that did, were bite marks on the victim that were similar to Harward’s dental records. He feels the jury must have been convinced that they were identical.

Harward declined to talk to 10 On Your Side.

Olga Akselrod, Harward’s attorney at the Innocence Project, told 10 On Your Side, “We obviously are very pleased that the Attorney General’s office is joining us in a request for a writ of actual innocence. The DNA results prove in this case without any question that Mr. Harward has spent 33 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.”

The Attorney General’s office said Harward could ask to be released on bail.

Also, Governor Terry McAuliffe is working with the parole board to see if a pardon would be appropriate.