This single mom spent 13 years becoming an attorney so that she could free her brother who was found guilty of murder

vt-author-image

By VT

Article saved!Article saved!

Aidan's pub on Rhode Island may look innocuous from the outside, but inside this old, dingy and dark building lies one of the most interesting and inspirational women in America. Betty Anne Waters is a waitress and general manager at Aidan's and, while she may seem like a smiley, welcoming host, there is much more to her than meets the eye.

Back in 2001, Betty and her family garnered the attention of the international press. 18 years earlier, in 1983, her brother Kenny Waters was sentenced to life imprisonment after the murder of a 48-year-old woman in Massachusetts. Despite his constant claims that he was innocent and a formal appeal in 1985, his pleas fell on deaf ears and he remained behind bars. Facing life imprisonment for a crime he claimed to have not committed, Kenny tried to take his own life.

Upon hearing of her brother's suicide attempt, Betty made him promise that he would not try and do anything like that again. However, while Kenny agreed, he asked that his sister get the education required in order to break him out. Speaking to the New York Times, Betty Anne recalled the conversation:

“I remember saying to my sister: ‘Am I going to make it through school, pass the bar? What if I don’t find the answer?’ ” she said. “It seemed like as long as I was doing something in school, Kenny was O.K.”

Despite being a mom of two - who was already struggling to balance her work and home life - Betty enlisted onto night classes at a community college, before eventually going on to study at the Roger Williams University School of Law. She recalls having to take her books to football games and, due to the ever-increasing pressure she was under, her marriage faltered and eventually ended.

Betty's sons decided to go and live with their father, which broke their mother's heart. Despite this, she carried on, giving up her own life for the sake of her brother's.

After studying for 13 years in order to get her qualifications, Betty Anne had the right to act on her brother's behalf and became his attorney. Throughout her entire study period, the mother meticulously studied her brother's case - fine-tooth combing every last detail in order to fully understand the allegations made against him. Then, in 1999, she managed to locate blood samples of evidence that she was told had been destroyed.

With the help of the Innocence Project - an organisation who specialise in overturning miscarriages of injustice - Betty and her team managed to convince the authorities to allow them to test the blood for DNA evidence.

The results turned out to be a major breakthrough, with them revealing that the blood found at the scene of the crime was neither that of her brother's nor the murder victim. This, in Betty's mind, proved that Kenny was innocent. However, the chief prosecutor of the case claimed that it wasn't sufficient enough to warrant a release and asked for more evidence from the group.

Undeterred by the setback, Betty went and spoke to Kenny's ex-girlfriends. After finding out that the women gave false evidence due to the threats made against them by the police, Betty managed to get all of the women to retract their statements. Speaking to the Sun about her investigation, Betty said:

“It took two years after getting the DNA which proved him innocent to finally get him free. The DNA evidence should have been enough. It is an odd system. They do not want to admit they made a mistake.”

Astonishingly, in 2001 and at the age of 47, Robert was freed from prison. Upon his release, he was fascinated by how much the world has changed. He was amazed by cellphones and confounded by the new, modernised car dashboard. “He couldn’t wait to go to a Home Depot,” Betty said. “He had never been to such a big store before.”

Sadly Kenny's freedom was short-lived. Just 6 months after his release, he died after falling 15ft while trying to climb a wall. Despite this, Betty says that "Kenny had the best six months of his life" and is glad he passed away outside of the confinement of his cell.

Understandably, given the incredible nature of events, the case captured the imagination of the media and film producers who, in 2010, made a film about the incredible turn of events called The Conviction.

Despite achieving relative fame and having a film made about her life, Ms. Waters has gone back to her former job and routine. Rather than spending time in courtrooms and fighting for justice, Betty can be found either serving up food at Aidan's or cooking meatballs and apple pie for her family.

“I just want to be a grandmother,” she said.

In the digital age of undeserved fame, people like Betty Ann Waters deserve more attention than they receive. No doubt there are plenty more people like her, who have achieved incredible things and live under the radar. But, through their modesty, resilience and unrelenting desire for justice, they help restore our faith in humanity.

This single mom spent 13 years becoming an attorney so that she could free her brother who was found guilty of murder

vt-author-image

By VT

Article saved!Article saved!

Aidan's pub on Rhode Island may look innocuous from the outside, but inside this old, dingy and dark building lies one of the most interesting and inspirational women in America. Betty Anne Waters is a waitress and general manager at Aidan's and, while she may seem like a smiley, welcoming host, there is much more to her than meets the eye.

Back in 2001, Betty and her family garnered the attention of the international press. 18 years earlier, in 1983, her brother Kenny Waters was sentenced to life imprisonment after the murder of a 48-year-old woman in Massachusetts. Despite his constant claims that he was innocent and a formal appeal in 1985, his pleas fell on deaf ears and he remained behind bars. Facing life imprisonment for a crime he claimed to have not committed, Kenny tried to take his own life.

Upon hearing of her brother's suicide attempt, Betty made him promise that he would not try and do anything like that again. However, while Kenny agreed, he asked that his sister get the education required in order to break him out. Speaking to the New York Times, Betty Anne recalled the conversation:

“I remember saying to my sister: ‘Am I going to make it through school, pass the bar? What if I don’t find the answer?’ ” she said. “It seemed like as long as I was doing something in school, Kenny was O.K.”

Despite being a mom of two - who was already struggling to balance her work and home life - Betty enlisted onto night classes at a community college, before eventually going on to study at the Roger Williams University School of Law. She recalls having to take her books to football games and, due to the ever-increasing pressure she was under, her marriage faltered and eventually ended.

Betty's sons decided to go and live with their father, which broke their mother's heart. Despite this, she carried on, giving up her own life for the sake of her brother's.

After studying for 13 years in order to get her qualifications, Betty Anne had the right to act on her brother's behalf and became his attorney. Throughout her entire study period, the mother meticulously studied her brother's case - fine-tooth combing every last detail in order to fully understand the allegations made against him. Then, in 1999, she managed to locate blood samples of evidence that she was told had been destroyed.

With the help of the Innocence Project - an organisation who specialise in overturning miscarriages of injustice - Betty and her team managed to convince the authorities to allow them to test the blood for DNA evidence.

The results turned out to be a major breakthrough, with them revealing that the blood found at the scene of the crime was neither that of her brother's nor the murder victim. This, in Betty's mind, proved that Kenny was innocent. However, the chief prosecutor of the case claimed that it wasn't sufficient enough to warrant a release and asked for more evidence from the group.

Undeterred by the setback, Betty went and spoke to Kenny's ex-girlfriends. After finding out that the women gave false evidence due to the threats made against them by the police, Betty managed to get all of the women to retract their statements. Speaking to the Sun about her investigation, Betty said:

“It took two years after getting the DNA which proved him innocent to finally get him free. The DNA evidence should have been enough. It is an odd system. They do not want to admit they made a mistake.”

Astonishingly, in 2001 and at the age of 47, Robert was freed from prison. Upon his release, he was fascinated by how much the world has changed. He was amazed by cellphones and confounded by the new, modernised car dashboard. “He couldn’t wait to go to a Home Depot,” Betty said. “He had never been to such a big store before.”

Sadly Kenny's freedom was short-lived. Just 6 months after his release, he died after falling 15ft while trying to climb a wall. Despite this, Betty says that "Kenny had the best six months of his life" and is glad he passed away outside of the confinement of his cell.

Understandably, given the incredible nature of events, the case captured the imagination of the media and film producers who, in 2010, made a film about the incredible turn of events called The Conviction.

Despite achieving relative fame and having a film made about her life, Ms. Waters has gone back to her former job and routine. Rather than spending time in courtrooms and fighting for justice, Betty can be found either serving up food at Aidan's or cooking meatballs and apple pie for her family.

“I just want to be a grandmother,” she said.

In the digital age of undeserved fame, people like Betty Ann Waters deserve more attention than they receive. No doubt there are plenty more people like her, who have achieved incredible things and live under the radar. But, through their modesty, resilience and unrelenting desire for justice, they help restore our faith in humanity.