When her brother, Kenneth Waters, was sentenced to life in prison for the 1980 murder of Katharina Brow, Betty Anne Waters decided to earn a law degree so she could fight for his release.
Brow was found brutally stabbed to death in her trailer home. Cash and jewelry were taken. Kenneth was suspected because he had a reputation as a local rowdy. Years earlier, when he was 10, Kenneth had broken into Katharina's home and she’d turned him into authorities.
He was questioned on the day she was found murdered, but wasn't charged until two years later, when a man dating a former girlfriend of Kenneth's told police Waters had admitted to the crime. During the trial, two former girlfriends, including one who had a daughter with Kenneth, testified that he'd admitted murdering Brow. One witness testified that Kenneth had hated Katharina since he was 10, when he was sent to reform school for breaking into her home. Blood found in Brow’s home was the same blood type as Kenneth's.
He was convicted in 1983 at the age of 29 and sentenced to life in prison. At that time, his 28-year-old sister Betty Anne was a high school dropout with two small sons. She returned to school to earn her GED, then her bachelors, a master's in education, and eventually a law degree, while working part time as a waitress.
In 1999, Betty Anne asked for her brother's DNA to be tested against a sample of the blood at the crime scene. The result showed that Kenneth was not a matchthe blood was not his.
With the help of famed attorney Barry Scheck, who'd worked on O.J. Simpson's defense team, Betty Anne asked for a new trial. Based on the DNA test, after serving nearly 20 years in prison, Kenneth was set free in March 2001. In September of the same year, Kenneth tragically fractured his skull when he fell from a 15-foot wall while taking a shortcut to his brother's house after having dinner with his mother. He later died in hospital.
Betty Anne continues to work helping others who have been wrongfully convicted.