Will DNA Set a Missouri Man Free?


A Missouri judge will decide this summer whether to clear a man who has spent three decades behind bars for a crime he says he didn’t commit.

In April 1982, a 35-year-old woman and her young children were brutally attacked in their home and left for dead. One year later Rodney Lee Lincoln was convicted of manslaughter and first-degree assault — based mostly on the testimony of a surviving seven-year-old victim and the possibility that a hair from the crime scene could have come from Lincoln.

Attorneys at the Midwestern Innocence Project have been working on his case since 2005 and DNA tests have now shown that the hair is not Lincoln’s. They are now seeking his freedom based on the DNA results and other evidence, and St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Robin Vannoy will decide this summer if Lincoln will become Missouri’s seventh DNA exoneree.

 “The best description I can give you is I was in a hole and someone lifted the lid,” Lincoln said. “It’s way up there, but there’s light.”

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