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DNA evidence may overturn murder conviction


In the relatively recent past, without the benefit of advanced DNA testing capabilities, many people were convicted of crimes solely based on circumstantial evidence. Nowadays, with the availability of DNA testing, some of those previously accused and convicted of serious crimes, can try and prove their actual innocence through DNA comparison.

This is exactly what one man previously convicted of murder is hoping for. He has already been behind bars for 29 years after being convicted of murdering a 35-year-old woman. However, even though he was convicted and is serving two life sentences, he maintains he is innocent.

When looking back at the case, when the 35-year-old woman was attacked and killed in April 1982, her two daughters -- ages 4 and 7 -- were also attacked. Based on the memory of the 7-year-old, a composite drawing of the attacker was put together. A family member said the drawing resembled a man the 35-year-old used to date. This led them to the man now behind bars.

In addition to the drawing, the girls reacted to a photo of the suspect and they picked him out of a police lineup.

At the time of his trial, investigators did collect evidence that may have contained DNA. However, testing was not yet available. Now, with the passage of time, and those that believe in his innocence, that evidence is awaiting testing to determine whether there is enough DNA in order to make a profile. If there is, then within a couple of months, the answer as to whether that DNA matches this man should be available.

If the DNA does match a male profile, but not the man who was previously convicted, then the information will be sent into state and federal databases where lawyers for the man believe a match to the real killer will be found.

Source: St. Louis Today, "Man convicted in St. Louis slaying hopes DNA testing will prove his innocence," Jennifer Mann, Oct. 10, 2012

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