Innocence Project Northwest
client Donovan Allen was released Wednesday night after DNA testing revealed another man was responsible for the murder for which he served 15 years, according to the Associated Press.
Allen was convicted in 2002 of killing his mother, Sharon Cox, who was found strangled and bludgeoned in her home two years prior. Allen confessed to the crime after 14 hours of overnight interrogation and later recanted. His first trial resulted in a hung jury.
Prosecutors dismissed the case against Allen on Tuesday and arrested the victim’s nephew, Brian Del Kitts, whose DNA was found on Cox’s clothing after new testing was performed on evidence from the crime scene.
Attorneys from the Innocence Project Northwest requested in May that testing be performed on Cox’s clothing, nail scrapings and other evidence found at the scene. DNA found on the collar of the Cox’s sweater and on her shirt matched to Kitts, who was a person of interest during the initial investigation.
Innocence Project Northwest Policy Director Lara Zarowsky told the Associated Press last week that prosecutors never suggested the crime was committed by more than one person and that the evidence against Kitts fully exonerates Allen. Charges could still be brought against Allen if additional evidence linking him to the crime surfaces.
In the meantime, Allen is free to rebuild his life on the outside.
“It feels surreal,” he said in a statement. “I can finally begin the life I was robbed of. I’m so glad to have a second chance to be a father, a son, an uncle.”
Read the Associated Press coverage