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Man on death row applies for DNA tests on 1988 evidence

On Behalf of | Aug 11, 2020 | Post-Conviction Matters |

Michigan people who follow cases in which DNA testing proves the innocence of convicted individuals might be interested in this case. A man with intellectual disabilities is on death row, awaiting his scheduled execution in December. He petitioned for post-conviction relief on two occasions, in 1992 and again in 1998. Both these applications were denied.

At the time of his conviction in 1988, the man was only 20 years old. The court found him guilty on charges related to the stabbing and murder of a woman and her daughter, who was 2 years old at the time. The woman’s 4-year-old son was also stabbed, but he survived. The convicted man has maintained his innocence for more than 30 years. He claims to have reacted to a woman’s cries for help when he came upon the murder scene.

According to his legal counsel, he got blood on his clothes from attempts to help the woman, but fear of being blamed caused him to flee once police arrived at the scene. Now he has requested DNA testing to be done on the murder weapon, bloodstained clothing and other items of the victim and fingernail scrapings. His legal counsel maintains that no other suspects were investigated after the murder of the woman, even though he had no prior history of violence.

The Innocence Project filed this petition as it has in other cases in which convictions occurred before DNA testing became available. Michigan people who face similar circumstances can retain a criminal defense attorney with experience in dealing with post-conviction writs and appeals. An attorney can work to right any wrongs that have occurred.