An harmless Black man who was imprisoned for 26 years on demise row has been launched after having his innocence confirmed. In keeping with The Innocence Undertaking, Eddie Lee Howard was exonerated from his jail time period on Jan 8.
Howard was tried and sentenced to demise in 1994 after he was wrongfully convicted of murdering an aged white girl in Columbus, Mississippi. The courtroom case was primarily based virtually solely on now-discredited chew mark proof. New forensic opinion with reference to chew marks and robust alibi witnesses, in addition to DNA testing of crime scene proof, together with blood and DNA from the homicide weapon, excluded Howard from committing the crime. In December 2020, he was launched from Mississippi’s demise row.
“I wish to say many because of the numerous people who find themselves chargeable for serving to to make my dream of freedom a actuality,” stated Howard in a written assertion. “I thanks with all my coronary heart as a result of with out your onerous work on my behalf, I’d nonetheless be confined in that horrible place referred to as the Mississippi Division of Corrections, on demise row, ready to be executed.”
“The Mississippi Supreme Court docket has taken a robust stance in rejecting junk science as the premise on which to place a person to demise,” stated M. Chris Fabricant, one in all Howard’s Innocence Undertaking attorneys. “We’re grateful that the Court docket has recognized this breakdown in Mr. Howard’s case, ruling that debunked science has no place in our justice system.”
Final yr on August 31, the Mississippi Supreme Court docket vacated Howard’s conviction and demise sentence, primarily based on the speculation of the debunked strategy of chew mark comparability. The Court docket acknowledged that an “particular person perpetrator can’t be reliably recognized by means of chew mark comparability,” but chew mark comparability was “the State’s most necessary proof at Howard’s trial.”
“Mr. Howard was sentenced to demise primarily based on unfounded forensics with no bodily proof or witnesses to the crime,” stated Vanessa Potkin, one other one in all Howard’s Innocence Undertaking attorneys. “Like Mr. Howard, 21 different women and men on demise row throughout the nation have had their innocence confirmed by DNA, together with Kennedy Brewer. Mr. Brewer, who can also be a Black man, spent 15 years on Mississippi’s demise row primarily based on false chew mark proof. We all know there are extra harmless individuals at the moment on demise row pleading for post-conviction reduction. The demise penalty is probably the most excessive and irreversible type of punishment. Mr. Howard’s case is a main instance of why we can’t afford to make use of it when human error remains to be so prevalent within the prison justice system.”