A Tennessee inmate who is scheduled to be executed in December could soon be exonerated according to a criminal justice reform advocacy group. In a court filing submitted in Shelby County on July 22, the New York-based Innocence Project is seeking to have blood on bedsheets gathered at the crime scene in 1987 subjected to DNA testing. The nonprofit organization says that the tests could be completed in less than two months. The 53-year-old man has been on death row for three decades.
The man was convicted of murder based on circumstantial evidence. Police discovered the man kneeling over the body of a 28-year-old woman who had been stabbed multiple times. Court papers reveal that He was pulling the murder weapon out of her neck at the time. The man claims that he was in the building to visit his girlfriend and only entered the victim’s apartment when he heard a cry for help. He says that he was removing the knife to try and save the woman’s life.
The man was apprehended after running from the scene. His attempt to flee prompted police to abandon all other avenues of inquiry. The man says that he ran because he was convinced the police would not believe his story. The bedsheets that the Innocence Project wants tested were found in the victim’s bedroom and never introduced as evidence during the man’s trial. The group believes that they will reveal that an as yet unidentified third party was present.
Prosecutors often pursue important cases with circumstantial evidence alone, and fleeing from law enforcement is an extremely powerful form of circumstantial evidence. This is one of the reasons why experienced criminal law attorneys may advise their clients to suppress the urge to flee from police no matter how dire their situations may seem.