A man who has consistently maintained his innocence since he was arrested for murder almost 30 years ago has had his conviction overturned…again.
That’s right…twice convicted and twice overturned, explained best by a 2002 report by the New York Times.
Less than 48 hours after police found Dorothy Edwards dead in her bedroom closet, they arrested a 23-year-old man who had done chores around her house. Four months later, the man, Edward Lee Elmore, was sentenced to death for the sexual assault and murder of Mrs. Edwards, a wealthy, socially prominent 75-year-old widow.
Mr. Elmore has been on death row for 20 years. Though he was convicted by two juries — his first conviction was overturned on technical grounds — he has always maintained his innocence. His lawyers argue that he was framed by investigators who planted evidence and lied in court. They also say they have DNA evidence that casts doubt on Mr. Elmore’s guilt.
And, it seems that today’s courts agree with the speculation and have given into those doubts.
A report by WIS says the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., ruled 2-1 to toss out the conviction of Elmore, who has spent most of his 29 years in prison on death row. He only spent the last year off of death row after a judge ruled him mentally unfit to be executed and another judge sentenced him to life without parole.
The panel said Edward Lee Elmore’s trial lawyers failed to challenge forensic evidence that could have exonerated him and that failure violated Elmore’s constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel.