The Innocence Project is reporting:
Innocence Project client Kennedy Brewer is expected to be exonerated next week after serving more than 15 years behind bars in Mississippi — much of it on death row — for a child murder that DNA proves he didn’t commit. The evidence should also lead to the exoneration of another Innocence Project client, who was wrongfully convicted of a separate murder. Together, the cases reveal deep and disturbing problems in Mississippi ’s criminal justice system and they present a unique opportunity to transform how cases are investigated and prosecuted in the state.
An Innocence Project investigation of the cases has uncovered new evidence — including DNA test results and a confession — that identified the actual perpetrator in both cases, who was arrested earlier this week. At a hearing in rural Noxubee County, Mississippi, on Thursday, Brewer is expected to be fully cleared, making him the first person exonerated through post-conviction DNA testing in the state. Levon Brooks, who was convicted of an identical murder, may appear at the same hearing and leave the courtroom a free man.
The two cases are remarkably similar. Brooks was convicted in 1992 of raping and killing his ex-girlfriend’s three-year-old daughter. Just 18 months after that brutal murder, the three-year-old daughter of Brewer’s girlfriend was raped and murdered in Noxubee County. In both cases, the victims were found in bodies of water very close to their homes. The same police, prosecutors and forensic analysts handled both cases and collaborated in ignoring and fabricating evidence to send two innocent men to prison.