A man who was sentenced to serve 43 years in prison and at one time faced the death penalty for the 1998 killing and sexual assault of his girlfriend’s daughter has been released due to previously undisclosed investigative information. Blood evidence or rather the lack of blood evidence based on a recently released lab report has freed a man who served 12 years in prison for a sex crime and murder he likely did not commit.
Over a decade ago, the man, then 19, was taking care of his girlfriend’s two-year-old daughter when she died. The two-year-old died from being shaken violently and was also identified as having been assaulted. Within a few hours police arrested the man for the little girl’s death even though there were at least two other people who could have been involved in the young girl’s death.
Original state lab reports suggested blood was originally found on the little girl’s underwear but tests used to determine whether the evidence was actually blood came back negative. The “blood” evidence was a central piece in the prosecution’s case against the man. The new information has only recently been released and according to the man’s attorney would have provided for a different defense when he was arrested. Based on the new information, a judge released him from jail last month.
The man has always argued that he was innocent of any crime and avoided the death penalty by taking a special type of plea. The man pled to second-degree murder and first-degree sex assault charges. The unique plea deal did not force the man to admit guilt but recognized a jury would have found him guilty. The man has successfully had his plea withdrawn. He has filed a motion to have all charges dismissed.
Source: newsobserver.com, “Man Jailed 12 Years Wants Case Dropped,” J. Andrew Curliss, 10/13/10