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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.
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith faced protests today as he visited Bath to check the progress of universal credit, which is being trialled in the city. The minister's visit coincided with the publication of a damning report by Bath and...
"Two members of the Russian protest group Pussy Riot were attacked by a group of men who poured rubbish and bright green paint over them and shouted obscenities at them at a McDonald's restaurant.
A video, uploaded by the group on Thursday, shows at least three men attacking Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, shouting "[Go] to America!" and shooting paint into their faces from syringes in the city of Nizhny Novgorod.
"It hurts! Why are you doing this?" Tolokonnikova says, with green stains on her face and hands. "You don't have the right to hurt me. Please don't do that to anyone anymore.""* The Young Turks hosts Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian break it down.
In our news wrap Thursday, the Senate blocked a bipartisan bill that would have removed commanders from making decisions about prosecuting sexual assault cases. Meanwhile, at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, the most senior military member ever to face trial for sexual assault pleaded guilty on three counts. Also, in Afghanistan, a NATO airstrike killed five Afghan soldiers.
THEY were the 10 steps to hell. Yesterday they were covered with leaves blown by the wind. But for more than two decades these concrete stairs were the loneliest path for hundreds of girls — being the quickest and most secretive path from the superintendent’s office down to the dungeon.
Former Lib Dem education minister Sarah Teather is going to stop eating in protest at the coalition government's "wilful indifference to the hunger of its citizens". Teather, the MP for Brent Central, said it was a "national scandal" that people in Britain were having to go hungry because they could not afford to buy food as well as pay for rent and heating.
This 16-minute inmate education video is designed to help adult prisons, jails, and lockups to meet the inmate education requirements of the Department of Justice's National Standards to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Prison Rape (§§115.33 and 115.132).
The video includes an introductory section that can be used during intake. The intake education portion of the film informs incoming inmates about a facility's zero-tolerance policy on sexual abuse and ways that victims can report. The full video can be used to provide a comprehensive inmate education program, which covers the definition of sexual abuse and sexual harassment, the absolute right of inmates to be free from such violence, agency policies and procedures toward preventing and responding to it, and how inmates can get support and medical and mental health care after an assault.
The video features a range of experts, including prisoner rape survivors, former PREA inmate peer educators, advocates, and corrections officials. Because inmate education should be facility-specific, the video has information that is applicable to all adult detention settings.