Her life and her brother’s wrongful conviction inspired the 2010 movie, Conviction. After Kenneth “Kenny” Waters was wrongfully convicted in 1983 for the 1980 murder of Katherina Brow in Ayers, Massachusetts, Betty Anne pursued a college and law degree into order to exonerate her brother. A NY Times article, entitled “From Waitress to Brother’s Savior, Then Hollywood Hero,” describes her story:
“Ms. Waters had only a job as a waitress, her high school equivalency, two kids and a stack of bills when she set out to rescue her brother Kenneth Waters, who served 18 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. Now she has a college degree, a law degree and the stunning achievement of having succeeded, after nearly two decades, in overturning her brother’s conviction.”
On April 5th, we will present the Frank Lee Smith Innocence Award to Ms. Waters for her inspirational work and dedication to correct injustices caused by wrongful convictions at our annual Steppin’ Out gala.
“We recognize that wrongful convictions impact many lives – not just those who are sent to prison, but their families too.” said Seth Miller, Executive Director of the Innocence Project of Florida, “Kenny’s wrongful conviction took Betty Anne’s life in a very different direction.”
This award is named in honor of Frank Lee Smith, Florida’s first DNA exoneree. Sadly, Frank Lee Smith died of cancer on death row 11 months before the State of Florida agreed to DNA testing. It was his struggle and persistence that in part led to the passage of Florida’s post-conviction DNA testing law and the formation of the Innocence Project of Florida.
Today, Betty Anne lives in Bristol, Rhode Island, and works as the general manager of a pub. She works to help the Innocence Project spread the word about wrongful convictions by speaking out about her story.