Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Charges Dropped in Wisconsin Case

Milwaukee prosecutors announced Monday that they will not seek a new trial in the case of Robert Lee Stinson, who served more than 23 years in prison for a murder DNA proves he didn’t commit. The University of Wisconsin Innocence Project began working on Stinson’s case in 2005 and obtained the DNA testing that proved his innocence. He was released in January, but Monday’s announcement makes his exoneration official.

Stinson was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the murder of a 62-year-old woman in Milwaukee. His conviction was based, in part, on the testimony of two forensic bite mark analysts, who said bite marks on the victim’s body matched Stinson’s teeth. One of the experts testified at his trial that the bite marks "had to have been made by teeth identical" to Stinson's and that there was "no margin for error in this." The other called the bite mark evidence "overwhelming" and said "there was no question there was a match."

DNA testing conducted in the case at the request of the Wisconsin Innocence Project found a male DNA profile in areas of the victim’s sweater that had tested positive for saliva. The profile did not match Stinson, proving another person bit the victim.

After the charges were dismissed during a brief court hearing Monday, Assistant District Attorney Norman Gahn said it was the age of the case - which led to destroyed evidence, "faded memories" of witnesses and other problems - that led prosecutors not to retry Stinson.

Read the full story here. (Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel, 07/27/09)
Stinson is the 241st person exonerated by DNA testing in the United States and the fifth in Wisconsin.


No comments: