Of Counsel

Legal Notes on Georgia and The South

New Arrest in Mississippi Exonerations

Posted by Maggie on February 8, 2008

Back in September, I wrote about a horrific case in Mississippi where a man was exonerated by DNA evidence (back in 2001!) but the prosecutor insisted he would be re-tried and kept him in prison.

The case involved the rape and murder of a young girl, the daughter of Kennedy Brewer’s girlfriend. Brewer was sleeping in the same room as the girl and her mother the night she disappeared. He was convicted based on bite-mark evidence (which, as you may have heard, is a complete crock) though they now believe the bites were made by animals after the girl’s death. Besides the DNA which didn’t end up matching, there was another major element in favor of Brewer’s innocence. There was a nearly identical crime two years before, where the mother’s boyfriend was again convicted based on bite-mark evidence.

Now a new suspect has been arrested for both crimes. Justin Johnson was a suspect in both cases and even submitted hair and blood samples. He lived close to both girls and was excluded by the bite-mark “expert.” What’s unfortunate is that all this took so long. Levon Brooks, the first one convicted, still hasn’t been released. And Brewer wasn’t granted bond until fall of 2007, his charges still haven’t been dismissed.

Even in the face of innocence, it seems the wheels of justice don’t move quite fast enough. Brewer has been confined for 6 years since his innocence was proven. Just goes to show the power of a prosecutor. (Note, the prosecutor who insisted he be held has since recused himself from the case.)

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