Robert Lee Stinson walked out of a Wisconsin prison today after serving 23 years behind bars for a murder DNA shows he didn’t commit. Lawyers at the Wisconsin Innocence Project joined with the Milwaukee District Attorney’s office in asking a judge to throw out Stinson’s 1985 conviction today, based on new DNA evidence of his innocence and a new analysis showing that bite mark evidence used to convict Stinson was wrong.
Just after 1 p.m.,
Stinson walked out of New Lisbon Correctional Institution
a free man for the first time in more than two decades. While his conviction his vacated, Stinson is not completely exonerated. Prosecutors said they will review whether to retry him.
"We are thrilled that the truth has finally come out," says Byron Lichstein, the lead attorney on the case for the Wisconsin Innocence Project, which is part of the University of Wisconsin Law School. "Lee has been an inspiration to work with, and the evidence supporting his longstanding claim of innocence has always driven our devotion to the case. He has waited a long time for this day."
Stinson was convicted of first-degree intentional homicide in 1985 based almost exclusively on evidence purporting to match bite marks found in the victim's skin to his teeth. Since the time of Stinson's trial, new evidence has come to light that strongly supports his claim of innocence. First, four nationally recognized forensic odontologists — David Senn, Gregory Golden, Denise Murmann, and Norman Sperber, who all volunteered their time — evaluated the dental evidence and conclusively excluded Stinson as the source of any of the bite marks found on the victim. Furthermore, DNA evidence corroborated these conclusions — male DNA found on the victim's sweater also excluded Stinson.
Read the full story here
. (Wisconsin Innocence Project, 01/30/09)