Attorneys for a Maryland man argued before the state’s highest court recently that their client deserves a new trial based on DNA evidence of his innocence in a 1987 murder. James Thompson, 49, has been in Maryland prison for two decades for a murder he says he didn’t commit. Prosecutors at his trial said he confessed that he and his co-defendant, James Owens, committed the crime. Thompson, however, says the confession was coerced.
Owens was released in October after DNA test results showed that semen on the victim’s body came from another man – excluding Owens or Thompson.
"Thompson's the case of the phantom accomplice," his attorney, George Burns, argued in front of the Maryland Court of Appeals. "The state decides, well, Mr. Owens is not the accomplice. There's some other accomplice with Mr. Thompson."
… Suzanne Drouet, an attorney with Maryland's Innocence Project, said Thompson gave a "false confession" after "trickery" from police and prosecutors.
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. (Baltimore Examiner, 1/13/09)