Cole County (MO) Circuit Judge Dan Green has thrown out the 1983 conviction of George Allen Jr., 56, who has served 29 years of a 95-year sentence for the rape/murder of Mary Bell of St. Louis.
The Innocence Project accepted Allen’s case in 2010. A diagnosed schizophrenic, Allen had confessed but Innocence Project lawyers argued the confession was coached. According to the Kansas City Star (here), the police mistook Allen for a convicted sex offender prompting his arrest.
The Innocence Project uncovered police and lab reports that indicated semen from two other men was found on the victim’s robe. DNA testing of the robe last year excluded Allen.
The Innocence team also discovered that police had failed to disclose to the defense that the blood type of the attacker was inconsistent with Allen’s. Officials denied the presence of fingerprints at the scene, but the Innocence Project obtained them under subpoena. They also did not match Allen.
The crime occurred during a snowstorm. Allen lived ten miles away and his mother said that he was at home with her at the time of the crime.
As reported earlier this year (here) Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster initially opposed a retrial and argued that fingerprints and semen from others at the scene did not exclude Allen.
In the ruling, however, Judge Green commended Assistant Attorney General Michael Spillane “for his efforts in this matter. Mr. Spillane was at all times cognizant that his role was that of minister of justice and not simply that of an advocate. Wtihout his considerable effort, many relevant facts would not have been brought before this Court. Mr. Spillane’s character, sense of fairness, and ethics were consistent throughout this case and are deeply appreciated by this Court.”
Judge Green has ordered that Allen be released in ten days unless the St. Louis circuit attorney announces a decision to retry Allen.
Read Judge Green’s ruling (here).