Jan. 8 (UPI) — A Mississippi courtroom has dropped the homicide expenses for a person who spent 23 years on demise row for a conviction primarily based on discredited bite-mark proof.
Eddie Lee Howard Jr., 67, had twice been convicted for the 1992 rape and homicide of 87-year-old Georgia Kemp in Lowndes County. His 2000 conviction was primarily based on testimony from dentists who stated that marks on Kemp’s physique matched Howard’s enamel.
A Lowndes County Circuit Court docket decide signed an order dismissing the case Thursday, greater than 4 months after the Mississippi Supreme Court docket ordered a brand new trial for Howard.
Since Howard’s unique trial, the American Board of Forensic Odontology has revised its pointers to ban dentists from testifying on bite-mark proof and stated such proof is not sufficient to reliably determine a perpetrator.
The Mississippi Innocence Mission, which labored on Howard’s case, stated he was certainly one of 4 folks convicted of capital homicide primarily based on the forensic work of Drs. Steven Hayne and Michael West. One of many others, Levon Brooks, was exonerated after serving a number of years of a life sentence in 2008.
District Lawyer Scott Colom stated he had no alternative however to hunt to dismiss the case after the Mississippi Supreme Court docket’s August ruling.
“After studying the supreme courtroom’s opinion, studying the trial transcripts from the 2 trials, reviewing the investigative recordsdata and case recordsdata of the case, I made a decision that we did not have even remotely near ample proof to convict Mr. Howard past an inexpensive doubt,” Colom stated, in keeping with The Dispatch in Columbus and Starkville, Miss.
DNA proof discovered on the scene of Kemp’s demise additionally could not be tied to Howard.
Howard was launched from jail in December on his personal recognizance.