Legal News

New DNA Testing Casts Doubt on Guilt of Arkansas Man Who Had Been Executed for Murder at 2017

DNA tests released last week have raised questions regarding whether the state of Arkansas might have executed the wrong individual in connection with the 1993 sexual assault and murder of 26-year-old Debra Reese.
Summaries of those evaluations, released by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Innocence Project on Friday, revealed that genetic material in a male not matching that of this man executed for the crime was discovered on the murder weapon. Ledell Lee was executed by the nation for Reese’s murder in 2017. Lee asserted his innocence until the end, telling the BBC day before his death”My dying documents will always function as it has beenI am an innocent man.”
“Though the results obtained 29 years following the evidence was collected was partial and incomplete, it’s notable that there are now new DNA profiles which were not accessible during the trial or post-conviction proceedings in Mr. Lee’s case,” Nina Morrison, senior litigation counsel at the Innocence Project, said in an announcement. “We’re optimistic that a lot of these forensic law enforcement databases will generate additional info later on.”
According to the advocacy teams, that filed a lawsuit a year ago to gain access to the DNA evidence used to convict Lee, evaluations revealed the club was able to beat Debra Reese to departure, along with the damn shirt which the weapon was wrapped in, equally revealed DNA substance in an unknown male whose genetic profile did not develop any matches in a nationwide database. Neither the club nor the shirt comprised Lee’s DNA, though there was”moderate support” showing that blood discovered of Lee’s left shoe may have come in Reese.
There was no direct physical evidence that implicated Lee as Reese’s killer, and his appellate attorney afterwards submitted an affidavit to the court admitting he fought with substance abuse issues while representing his client also was not able to provide a suitable defense for Lee, the Washington Post reported.
Mitochondria testing was conducted six strands of hair held in evidence. Lee was fully excluded as the origin for five, though he could not be ruled out as a”possible source” for one, the ACLU and Innocence Project stated.
“Mitochondrial DNA testing examines DNA shared by most individuals in a typical maternal line, such as distant relatives; it can be utilized to exclude known individuals as the origin, but cannot possibly be the basis for complete identification or individualization,” the groups said in a joint press release.
In an statement given to local CBS affiliate THV11,” Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (R) stated the evidence showed Lee’s guilt”beyond a shadow of a doubt.”
“The courts always refused Ledell Lee’s frivolous claims since the evidence demonstrated beyond any shadow of a doubt that he murdered Debra Reese by beating her to death inside her house with a tire thumper,” Rutledge said. “After 20 decades, I’m prayerful that Debra’s household has had closed following his legal execution in 2017.”

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