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Nearly four decades after an Illinois man was initially convicted of the murders of a brother and sister in their home, a judge ruled that several pieces of evidence could undergo DNA testing, reported the Journal Star.
Johnnie Lee Savory spent 30 years behind bars before being released in 2006. Five years later, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn commuted his sentence and ended his parole.
In Tuesday’s ruling, Peoria County Circuit Judge Steve Kouri said that the order doesn’t allow for a new trial and that DNA testing could be conducted at Savory’s own expense.
“This means hope for Johnnie,” said Joshua Tepfer, an attorney with the Northwestern University’s Center on Wrongful Convictions. “He has wanted this and fought for this and a team of advocates and friends have fought for this for more than 20 years, or since this technology became available.”
Savory, who has maintained his innocence, was tried twice. He was found guilty in the stabbing deaths of Connie Cooper, 19, and her brother, James Robinson, 14, in June 1977. His first conviction was overturned when the Third District Illinois Appellate Court ruled Savory’s alleged confession involuntary. He was retried in 1981 and found guilty again. Two years later, two of the witnesses recanted their testimony.
Among the pieces of evidence being tested are items the investigators deemed relevant to the case back in 1977. They include the purported murder weapon, a knife taken from Savory’s pants, the pants Savory was wearing, fingernail clippings from Copper and Robinson as well as a bloody light switch plate.
Kouri noted in his order that the blood evidence used against Savory was only able to identify the group type, which is far less probative than DNA.
“Type O blood type is found in approximately one in two people and Type A is in approximately one in three people,” Kouri wrote. “Can it be imagined that such rudimentary ‘scientific’ evidence would be presented and argued to a jury in a courtroom today, particularly in a double-homicide trial?”
The Center on Wrongful Convictions already has a Texas-based DNA testing firm lined up, and Tepfer is optimistic about the results.
Come and join our street stall this Saturday 12th July outside wilkinsons on Stratford Broadway E.15 from 12-2pm. Come along and have a chat about our Campaign read some of the housing stories we have collected on our storey board. ALL WELCOME our next meeting will be on 19th July at Bryant St Methodist Church, Bryant St, E.15. 2.30 - 4.30. ALL WELCOME
February is cold in Northern Virginia. It's even colder when you're in a cell alone, without a mattress, a blanket, a pillow or a sheet. When I walked into that cell in the basement of the Fairfax County Jail, my hands cuffed behind my back and stomach grumbling from a half a day without...
What does an 86-year-old art photographer have in common with a young man with a video game habit? Not just a proclivity for perfectly innocuous hobbies, unfortunately. These days, engaging in either activity can get the FBI on your case. Today, the ACLU and our partners at Advancing Jus...
Counting the homeless in Los Angeles County may not be as difficult as housing them all, but it is a daunting challenge nonetheless. In early 2013, an army of 5,000 volunteers, under the direction of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority — a joint agency of the county and city — fanned out across 1,350 of the sprawling county's 1,800 census tracts for two nights to count the number of people sleeping on sidewalks, in tents and cardboard lean-tos, under bridges, in cars. Simultaneously, the agency counted the number of people sleeping in transitional and emergency shelters and rescue missions.
Chong, who resorted to drinking his urine and, believing he would not survive, attempted to scrawl a farewell message in blood on his cell wall. DEA assigned agents who left student for dead in cell to investigate themselves RT.comJuly 11, 2014 An internal Department of Justice watchdog has criticized the US Drug Enforcement Administration for…
Over the last few days, the stomach-churning story of Jada -- a 16-year-old girl whose rape was recorded and then shared and mocked on social media -- has shown up everywhere. Now, it Jada's mother and a family spokesperson are claiming that Jada's far from the only girl victimized by the people who allegedly drugged and raped her. And one other girl may soon be coming forward.
The Obama administration's drug czar admitted Wednesday that locking people up won't keep them from using drugs, but he stopped short of renouncing punitive policies that have made America's long war on drugs widely unpopular.
Eleven-year-old Luisa was too young to apply on her own for a visa to come from Guatemala to the United States where she hoped to be reunited with her mother. But since federal immigration authorities detained her last year in Texas, Luisa has learned that she is apparently not too young...
Elliott “Bud” Yorke, who is incarcerated at Florida’s Columbia Correctional Institution Annex at Lake City, was sent to solitary confinement on June 24. According to prison officials, he was placed in isolation for his own protection after corrections officers observed injuries suggesting that he had been assaulted. Aside from being two months shy of his 90th birthday, Yorke …
A Manchester dad of two who has been banned from seeing his children has taken his campaign for fathers’ rights to David Cameron’s doorstep.
Chris Tompson, 38, from Oldham has not seen his eight-year-old daughter and six-year-old son since March 2013 and is now staging a month-long protest in the Prime Minister’s Oxfordshire constituency of Witney.