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Judge Rejects DNA Test 13 Years After Execution

The Innocence Project backed the test, which would have been a first
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 18, 2019 6:00 PM CST
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April Alley, front, daughter of Sedley Alley, hugs a member of her legal team in a Memphis courtroom last month.   (Patrick Lantrip/Daily Memphian via AP, File)

(Newser) – A Memphis judge ruled on Monday that the daughter of a man executed 13 years ago for murder does not have the right to seek DNA testing in the case. Sedley Alley, April Alley's father, was executed in 2006 for the 1985 murder of Marine Lance Cpl. Suzanne Collins. In May, April Alley petitioned the court on behalf of her father’s estate to order DNA testing, the AP reports. The move came after investigators in a Missouri case contacted the Innocence Project about a possible connection between that suspect and Collins. Since the early 1990s, 22 death row inmates around the US have been absolved of crimes through DNA evidence. The Innocence Project was trying to use such evidence to exonerate a person who has already been executed, something that has never been done before.

Collins, 19, was stationed at the former Memphis Naval Air Station when she went jogging on July 11, 1985. Her body was discovered the next day. She had been beaten, raped, and mutilated. Sedley Alley confessed to the crime after 12 hours of questioning but later said the confession was coerced. Innocence Project co-founder Barry Scheck had sought DNA evidence testing shortly before the execution but was denied. Earlier this year, Scheck received a call from investigators in St. Louis. He said they wanted to discuss a possible connection between Collins and Thomas Bruce, who is charged with sexually assaulting two women and killing a third at a Catholic Supply store there about a year ago.

(Read more Innocence Project stories.)

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