Last week, Tennessee prosecutors revealed that a hair found in the hand of a murder victim more than 20 years ago did not belong to Paul House, the man who spent more than two decades on death row for the murder. House, 46, was granted a new trial late last year and released in July while the new trial was pending. He has multiple sclerosis and cannot walk or feed himself. He lives with his mother.
The trial is set to begin on October 13, and prosecutors said last week they planned to go forward with the trial despite new mitochondrial DNA test results showing that a hair found in the palm of the murder victim belonged to neither House nor the victim’s husband.
House’s first conviction was overturned by a state judge after the U.S. Supreme Court heard the case and ruled that no reasonable juror would convict House based on the current evidence. The Innocence Project filed a friend of the court brief in that case.
In a letter to the Nashville Scene yesterday, Tennessee State Rep. Mike Turner wrote:
As a State Representative I am committed to ensuring that the citizens of Tennessee have faith in the justice system.. The case of Paul House casts grave doubt on the “justice” of the system. Given that the state of Tennessee is dealing with a significant budget shortfall how can we justify the cost of another trial for Mr. House with no evidence pointing his guilt? How much money has already been spent attempting to keep House on death row? Now with even more DNA evidence pointing to House’s innocence how can General Phillips justify his decision to move forward with a new trial?
Read Turner’s full letter
. (Nashville Scene, 09/22/08)
Coverage of developments in House’s case:
Prosecutor confirms hair in victim’s hand not House’s