Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Kenneth Ireland Exonerated of 1986 Rape and Murder

Kenneth Ireland of Connecticut was released last week after a judge granted him a new trial. The prosecutor is expected not to retry the case. Ireland was 20 years old when he was convicted of the rape and murder of Barbara Pelkey, a mother of four. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison. At his original trial, witnesses testified that Ireland confessed to them. Ireland contended that those witnesses lied for a large monetary reward. Ireland was released by means of DNA evidence which proved his innocence, obtained with the help of the Connecticut Innocence Project.

Congratulation to Kenneth Ireland and his family, and to the Connecticut Innocence Project!

The Boston Globe: DNA clears Conn. man of killing after 20 years

Bruce Lisker Freed After 24 Years

Bruce Lisker had his murder conviction overturned on Friday after spending 24 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. He is currently free on bail while the prosecution decides whether they wish to appeal. Lisker was 17 years old when his mother was murdered. Lisker saw his mother on the floor, broke into his parents' home to help her, and called paramedics. At the time, he was living elsewhere and was battling a drug addiction. He was arrested the same afternoon. Lisker was convicted primarily on four pieces of evidence, including blood spatter on his clothes, a bloody foot print in his parents' home, and a confession to a jailhouse informant. Evidentiary rulings later cast considerable doubt on the evidence that had been used against Lisker at trial, and the original prosecutor admitted that he now had "reasonable doubt". At the time of the murder, the police failed to follow a lead on another suspect, who had been to Lisker's mother's home the day before and who had lied about his whereabouts at the time of the crime. That suspect later committed suicide.

Congratulation to Bruce Lisker and the California Innocence Project!

The Los Angeles Times: Judge overturns Bruce Lisker's conviction in 1983 killing of his mother

Monday, August 3, 2009

DNA Database Solves Cold Cases

The state of Georgia recently reported that more than 1,500 cases have been solved because of the Georgia DNA database. Georgia began testing DNA in 1991 and began adding samples to the FBI database in 1998. In 2000, the Georgia legislature passed a law requiring that DNA samples be taken from all convicted felons. Previously, samples had only been taken from convicted sex offenders. In the first year after the database was expanded, 70 cases were solved. DNA databases also aid those claiming factual innocence, as actual perpetrators may already be in the database.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution: Georgia DNA solves 1,500 cases