[UPDATED] Man Who Has Spent 30 Years in Jail for Rape-Murder May Be Set Free
|George Allen can go free now, after 30 years in the cooler.|
In a statement sent to reporters, a spokeswoman for state prosecutors said:
We believe the facts and circumstances of the case and the trial court's findings should be examined by the appellate court as part of the normal safeguarding process. We will defer to the Western District Court of Appeals' decision in this matter, and if the court determines the judge's ruling is correct, we will not pursue further action.
Original Post: Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce announced today she won't re-file charges against 56-year-old George Allen, who has been locked up for nearly three decades for the murder of court reporter Mary Bell back in 1982.
On Friday, Cole County Judge Daniel Green finally agreed with Allen's attorneys from The Innocence Project and Bryan Cave that the man hadn't gotten a fair trial. The city cops had failed at the time to disclose evidence that would've helped Allen's case, the judge found. Friday's ruling threw the ball back in Joyce's court.
Today, Joyce declined to retry the case, explaining in a written statement that a key witness has since passed away.
She then hastened to add that the judge found "no evidence of prosecutorial misconduct," and that the ruling does not mean
that Mr. Allen is innocent of the crimes with which he was charged. Many people feel strongly that Mr. Allen is innocent, and many others believe strongly in his guilt. Judge Green's ruling does not exonerate Mr. Allen, however, the failure of police to follow protocol during the initial investigation and trial is the reason Mr. Allen will be released.In other words: We're not the ones who f--ked this up, guys. It was the police.
If the judge's findings are to be believed, that's accurate. You can read the judge's ruling here.
For more background on this case, go here and here.