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DNA evidence points to 2 men in 1983 rape, murder of Barbara Grams

Suspended Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren said DNA samples collected from 1983 rape kits were used in modern technology to identify the two men.

TAMPA, Fla — Following Gov. Ron DeSantis' announcement on the suspension of Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren for what he described as "neglect of duty," Warren made a groundbreaking announcement for the 1983 cold case murder of a teen.

In a planned press conference, Warren announced that DNA samples have pointed law enforcement officials to two men responsible for the rape and murder of 19-year-old Barbara Grams. In addition, the two men are also responsible for the 1983 rape and murder of another woman named Linda Lansen, Warren announced. He added that the two men committed a spree of rapes that year.

Amos Robinson, now 58, and Abron Scott, now 57, were both identified as the killers in the two cases, in addition to a third. Grams was raped and murdered in August 1983. One month before, Lansen was also raped, shot and killed. Robinson and Scott were also linked to a third crime and Robinson in a fourth.

Robinson is currently serving three life sentences in the Florida Department of Corrections. His criminal history includes first-degree murder, kidnapping, two counts of robbery, second-degree murder and third-degree murder. In addition, he's killed two prison inmates.

Scott is serving one life sentence in the Department of Corrections as well with a background showing first-degree murder, kidnapping, two counts of robbery and burglary.

Robert DuBoise was exonerated in 2020 after DNA evidence found that he did not kill 19-year-old Barbara Grams. He spent 37 years in prison for the rape and killing of Grams that he did not commit. Thereafter, the Conviction Review Unit was created in an effort to identify, remedy and prevent wrongful convictions. 

Warren said it's rare after a wrongful conviction that you find the actual perpetrator. DNA samples collected from 1983 rape kits were used in modern technology to identify the two men, he said during the press conference. Law enforcement officials including the Tampa Police Department, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office worked together in order to identify Robinson and Scott in the cold cases.

RELATED: Suspended State Attorney Andrew Warren provides update on 1983 cold case murder of Barbara Grams

"Their families deserve justice," Warren said.

The news brings clarity to the families of the women as the cases sat cold for nearly 40 years. Linda Sheffield, 67, the niece of Lansen, spoke during the news conference. She said it was a day she never thought would come.

"This is the beginning of closure," Sheffield said with a heavy heart. 

Grams was a teenager working at the mall, Warren said, before her untimely death. Lansen, a 39-year-old mother. She left behind a 7-year-old daughter.

"They robbed a 7-year-old girl of her mother," Sheffield exclaimed.

Warren said the prosecution of these two men shows the power of the Conviction Review Unit.

RELATED: Who is Andrew Warren, Hillsborough state attorney suspended by DeSantis?

RELATED: 'Overwhelming sense of relief' | Man freed from prison after 37 years, cleared of murder he didn't commit

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