Rhode Island Judge Approves Request to Overturn Conviction
More than two months after
New England Innocence Project
attorneys requested that their client’s murder conviction be vacated based on DNA evidence that points toward his innocence, a Superior Court judge approved the order.
Rhode Island native Raymond D. “Beaver” Tempest, Jr., was convicted in 1992 of beating and strangling 22-year-old Doreen C. Picard in the city of Woonsocket a decade earlier. The
reported that Judge Daniel A. Procaccini ruled on Wednesday that Tempest could pursue claims that his murder conviction should be overturned based on newly discovered DNA evidence that shows that the hair clutched in the victim’s hand didn’t belong to Tempest. In doing so, Procaccini has ruled that Tempest can seek relief from the court.
According to the Journal, the judge said in his ruling: “Defendant Tempest’s claim is that of actual innocence and rests upon newly discovered evidence. . . . The state will have the opportunity, along with the defendant, to conduct discovery and to assess and confront” Tempest’s claims during a future hearing.
Procaccini also noted in his ruling that any delay in the pursuit of his relief was a result of the state Department of Health, which sent empty containers to the lab for DNA analysis.
Three years after his initial conviction, the state supreme court upheld the decision. About a decade later, Tempest contacted the New England Innocence Project to help him seek DNA testing that would prove his innocence. Tempest’s legal team includes Michael Kendall, Mathew R. Turnell, Katherine Dyson, Lauren E. Jones and Betty Anne Waters, who put herself through law school in order to prove her late brother’s innocence.
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