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TBP votes to exonerate wrongly convicted man

| Jul 7, 2020 | Uncategorized |

The Tennessee Board of Parole voted unanimously on June 24 to urge Governor Bill Lee to exonerate a man who spent 12 years behind bars for a murder he did not commit. The vote was taken after a video conference lasting more than six hours. The man was released from prison in 2019 when fingerprint evidence implicated another man. However, no new charges will be filed in the case as the individual linked to the fingerprints took his own life in 2008 as police were moving in to arrest him for another crime.

The man was sent to prison for murdering a man on a country road in Grundy County in 2006. A jury found the man guilty of murder even though prosecutors produced no physical evidence linking him to the crime. The main evidence against the man was a statement from the victim’s sister that described an attacker with red hair. The man who committed suicide in 2008 also had red hair.

The unanimous vote to exonerate the man was an unusual step for the TBP. The board has only voted to exonerate individuals convicted of committing felonies on two previous occasions. The first was in the case of a man cleared by DNA evidence. The second vote to exonerate was taken after the victim in a kidnapping case admitted that she lied.

Individuals convicted of a felony are denied the right to vote, run for office and bear arms, and they may also find it impossible to obtain certain licenses and permits. When evidence emerges that suggests individuals were wrongly convicted of committing violent crimes, experienced criminal defense attorneys could take steps to ensure that they are released from custody, exonerated and their rights are restored.