Tuesday, March 28, 2006

And speaking of innocence...

Three possible innocence cases involving death-sentenced inmates are perculating.

In Ohio, a federal judge has ordered that Joe D'Ambrosio be released or granted a new trial. You can read about the case here. (Hat tip to Scott in Ohio for alerting me to this.)

In Texas, lawyers for death row inmate Rodney Reed are seeking a new trial after the emergence of some rather dramatic exculpatory evidence:

Secret of Rodney Reed death row appeal revealed Witness say victim's fiance once explained how to strangle without leaving fingerprints.
by Chuck Lindell
BASTROP — A once-secret witness testified Thursday that an alternate suspect in the 1996 strangulation of Stacey Stites once said he would choke his girlfriend to death if she cheated on him, leaving no fingerprints because he would use a belt.

That other suspect was Jimmy Fennell Jr., who was a Giddings police officer and Stites' fiancé when she was killed. Investigators eventually ruled him out. Instead, Rodney Reed is on death row for the crime Stites' body was left next to a dirt road north of Bastrop. The belt used to strangle the 19-year-old, ripped from around her waist, was broken in two by the force of the act.
You can read more by going here.

Also in Texas, and in a case that is close to NCADP, new DNA testing has been ordered in the case of Louis Perez, who supporters say was wrongfully convicted of a triple murder that occurred in Austin:
New testing to be ordered in '98 triple murder Louis Perez is on death row for Barton Hills slayings.
By Steven Kreytak
The family of death row inmate Louis Perez — convicted in 1999 of a triple murder in Austin — got new hope Thursday when Travis County prosecutors announced that they will order new DNA tests in the case.
Authorities will soon ship to the Texas Department of Public Safety crime lab dozens of items gathered from the Barton Hills house where Michelle Fulwiler, roommate Cinda Barz and Barz's 9-year-old daughter, Staci Mitchell, were found dead in a grisly scene Sept. 9, 1998.
That evidence — including pantyhose and a cast-iron skillet that prosecutors said Perez used to strangle and bludgeon his victims — will be retested to see if improved technology yields DNA that hadn't previously been detected. Those samples, along with DNA that was found in 1998 but was never matched to a person, will be compared with state and national databases of known offenders, said Assistant District Attorneys Buddy Meyer and Claire Dawson-Brown, who tried the case.
Those databases include the DNA of serial killer Angel Maturino Resendiz, who Perez's family say may have confessed to the murders from death row in 2002.
The family told Dawson-Brown and Meyer about the alleged confession last year and asked for new testing.
"It's the right thing to do," Meyer said. "We are confident in the verdict, but this man faces the death penalty, and we want to make absolutely sure."
Perez's father said the new testing, which was approved by Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle, is "what we've been praying for."
"Knowing Louis isn't capable of doing something like this . . . we feel that (the conviction) is a complete error," Ernest Perez Sr. said.
Dawson-Brown said the new testing has been endorsed by the victims' families.
Resendiz, 45, a Mexican drifter known as the "Railroad Killer" for a string of brutal murders near railroad tracks in several states, is scheduled for execution in May for killing a Houston-area doctor in her home.
Perez's sister, Delia Perez Meyer, no relation to Buddy Meyer, said Resendiz told an investigator working for Perez's lawyer in 2002 that he killed two women in Austin during his crime spree, but he was not more specific. He has been charged or suspected in at least 14 killings, but none in Austin. FBI timelines do not account for his whereabouts during the Austin slayings.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Since you guys chose to put this info under "speaking of innocence" perhaps now you can add the following info.

A new round of fingerprint and DNA testing is mostly complete and shows no sign that serial killer Angel Maturino Resendiz was at a South Austin triple murder scene in 1998....Other than some new matches to Perez, the testing yielded no hits.

Inoocent describes the little girl that Luis murdered. Not a triple homicide perp.