Midwest Innocence Project
attorneys appeared in a St. Louis court on Thursday to request that their client’s murder conviction be dismissed based on post-conviction DNA testing and other evidence.
Rodney Lee Lincoln, 69, was convicted of a 1982 murder of a 35-year-old woman and the violent assault of her two children. His conviction was based largely on a hair that was found at the crime scene and that was said to be his. Lincoln was sentenced to two life sentences in 1983.
The Associated Press reports that Lincoln’s case was among those that St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce chose a decade ago for additional investigation and DNA testing. The Midwest Innocence Project has been working on Lincoln’s case since 2005 and subsequent testing on biological evidence found no male DNA. Similarly, hair samples found at the scene that were said to belong to Lincoln at trial have since excluded him as the source.
” ‘We can’t hold onto a conviction out of desperation,’ Defense Lawyer Laura O’Sullivan said. When the evidence proves he is not the perpetrator, we have to release him. … The expert testimony is clearly proven to be false.’ ”
Circuit Judge Robin Vannoy limited testimony to DNA evidence but did not yet make a ruling. Lincoln was allowed to have a brief visit with his family who attended the hearing.