News 02.12.08

Hearing set for Friday in Mississippi cases

Innocence Project client Kennedy Brewer will appear in a Mississippi courtroom on Friday as a judge considers whether to dismiss charges against him based on evidence of his innocence. Brewer spent 15 years behind bars – much of it on death row — for the 1992 rape and murder of his girlfriend’s three-year-old daughter. Now DNA evidence proves his innocence and points to the identity of the real perpetrator, Justin Albert Johnson, who confessed to the crime. If charges are dropped Friday, Brewer will become the first person exonerated by post-conviction DNA testing in Mississippi.

The Innocence Project also represents Levon Brooks, who was convicted of an identical child murder that occurred in the same town 18 months earlier. Johnson has confessed to this murder as well. He was an initial suspect in both cases and lived near the victims at the time of the crimes. The Innocence Project is also seeking this week to expedite proceedings to vacate Brooks’ conviction as well, based on the evidence that Johnson committed the crime alone. Brooks’ case may be scheduled for the same hearing Friday.

Prosecutors in Mississippi have relied for years on the work of two discredited “experts” to examine forensic evidence and conduct autopsies. The Innocence Project has called for a review of forensic practices statewide.

Read more in Friday’s Innocence Project press release

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Associated Press:

Hearing on motion to exonerate man in child murder set for Friday

(02/11/08)

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