Family of death row inmate who was executed in 2017 say new DNA evidence found on murder weapon could prove his innocence

Family of death row inmate who was executed in 2017 say new DNA evidence found on murder weapon could prove his innocence

Family of death row inmate who was executed in 2017 say new DNA evidence found on murder weapon could prove his innocence

  • Ledell Lee was arrested in the homicide of 26-year-old Debra Reese in 1993
  • Neighbors said they saw him walking near her home the morning she was bludgeoned to death.
  • But no DNA evidence linked him to the crime
  • He was executed by  lethal injection in 2017 at the age of 51
  • New DNA found on the murder weapon.
  • However, belongs to an unidentified suspect and will be compared to new samples that are added to a database 
  • Innocence Project and ACLU attorneys now hope it will lead to further evidence suggesting Lee was not guilty of the crime 

 

our years after an Arkansas man was executed for murder, attorneys for his family say that new DNA evidence found on the murder weapon could prove his innocence.

Ledell Lee, 51, was executed by lethal injection in 2017 for the brutal killing of 26-year-old Debra Reese.

Who was sexually assaulted and murdered in her Jacksonville home in 1993.

But attorneys for his family say DNA belonging to someone else has been found on the handle of a bloody tire thumper that was used in the killing.

Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union and the Innocence Project .

A national organization that seeks to overturn wrongful convictions .

Say the DNA has not been identified, but will be tested against samples added to a national database.

‘We are grateful there is new evidence in the national DNA database.

And remain hopeful that there will be further information uncovered in the future,’ said Patricia Young, Lee’s sister.

Young sued the Jacksonville City Council to allow further DNA tests on the evidence last year.

Family of death row inmate who was executed in 2017 say new DNA evidence found on murder weapon could prove his innocence

The results of the latest tests ‘proved to be incomplete and partial,’

Said Attorney Nina Morrison, an attorney for the Innocence Project.

But could pave the way for further evidence that could prove Lee’s innocence.

The testing would not rule out Lee as the possible source of one of multiple hairs and hair fragments recovered from the scene, the attorneys told The Washington Post.

Reese had been home alone on February 9, 1993.

When she was struck approximately 36 times with the tire thumper her husband left her as a means of protection while he was working as a truck driver.

Witnesses said they saw Ledell Lee – then 27 – leave Reese’s home and walk down the street.

He was arrested less than an hour later, according to THV 11.

Lee was sentenced to death in October 1995, and maintained his innocence up until he was executed in April 2017.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge was unmoved by the latest DNA tests, and said the evidence against Lee ‘demonstrated beyond any shadow of a doubt that he murdered Debra Reese.’

In a news conference on May 4, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, defended Lee’s execution.

He said the new evidence is ‘inconclusive’ and ‘the jury found him guilty based upon the information they had.’

‘Whenever you make tough decisions, whenever you have to carry out the decision of a jury.

You realize that it’s been reviewed by the Supreme Court at every level.

‘ Hutchinson, who scheduled Lee’s 2017 execution, said. ‘They affirm the convictions, and it’s my duty to carry out the law.’

The woman who prosecuted the case against Lee had also previously expressed confidence that the jury did the right thing in sentencing him to death all those years ago, according to the Washington Post.

Family of death row inmate who was executed in 2017 say new DNA evidence found on murder weapon could prove his innocence

 

Family of death row inmate who was executed in 2017 say new DNA evidence found on murder weapon could prove his innocence

After he was arrested in the Reese homicide, Lee’s DNA had been linked to four other crimes –

Three sexual assault cases and another homicide, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, but the homicide and one of the assault charges were ultimately dropped.

In the Reese case, Lee’s family and advocates said, prosecutors relied heavily on eyewitness testimony from Reese’s neighborhood.

Who said they saw Lee walking around the neighborhood the morning she was killed

But Lee was never linked to the crime through DNA analysis.

‘Instead, the state convicted Mr. Lee by vastly overstating the nature.

And significance of the limited forensic testing conducted at that time.

Including tests that its own experts admitted were ultimately ‘inconclusive,’ the court documents said.

They further argued that a review uncovered flaws in the evidence used against Lee.

Including a biased photo lineup. Groups had previously submitted affidavits from forensic experts questioning this evidence.

And raising questions about the prosecution’s claim that a partial shoe print found at the scene matched Lee’s shoe size.

The ACLU asked for new DNA testing prior to Lee’s execution and claimed that Lee’s intellectual disability stemming from fetal alcohol syndrome was ‘never noticed let alone brought to the court or the jury’s attention.’

The group joined forces with the Innocence Project to push for the testing, but the Arkansas Supreme Court ultimately upheld Lee’s conviction.

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Related Articles

Family of death row inmate who was executed in 2017 say new DNA evidence found on murder weapon could prove his innocence

  • Ledell Lee was arrested in the homicide of 26-year-old Debra Reese in 1993
  • Neighbors said they saw him walking near her home the morning she was bludgeoned to death.
  • But no DNA evidence linked him to the crime
  • He was executed by  lethal injection in 2017 at the age of 51
  • New DNA found on the murder weapon.
  • However, belongs to an unidentified suspect and will be compared to new samples that are added to a database 
  • Innocence Project and ACLU attorneys now hope it will lead to further evidence suggesting Lee was not guilty of the crime 

 

our years after an Arkansas man was executed for murder, attorneys for his family say that new DNA evidence found on the murder weapon could prove his innocence.

Ledell Lee, 51, was executed by lethal injection in 2017 for the brutal killing of 26-year-old Debra Reese.

Who was sexually assaulted and murdered in her Jacksonville home in 1993.

But attorneys for his family say DNA belonging to someone else has been found on the handle of a bloody tire thumper that was used in the killing.

Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union and the Innocence Project .

A national organization that seeks to overturn wrongful convictions .

Say the DNA has not been identified, but will be tested against samples added to a national database.

‘We are grateful there is new evidence in the national DNA database.

And remain hopeful that there will be further information uncovered in the future,’ said Patricia Young, Lee’s sister.

Young sued the Jacksonville City Council to allow further DNA tests on the evidence last year.

Family of death row inmate who was executed in 2017 say new DNA evidence found on murder weapon could prove his innocence

The results of the latest tests ‘proved to be incomplete and partial,’

Said Attorney Nina Morrison, an attorney for the Innocence Project.

But could pave the way for further evidence that could prove Lee’s innocence.

The testing would not rule out Lee as the possible source of one of multiple hairs and hair fragments recovered from the scene, the attorneys told The Washington Post.

Reese had been home alone on February 9, 1993.

When she was struck approximately 36 times with the tire thumper her husband left her as a means of protection while he was working as a truck driver.

Witnesses said they saw Ledell Lee – then 27 – leave Reese’s home and walk down the street.

He was arrested less than an hour later, according to THV 11.

Lee was sentenced to death in October 1995, and maintained his innocence up until he was executed in April 2017.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge was unmoved by the latest DNA tests, and said the evidence against Lee ‘demonstrated beyond any shadow of a doubt that he murdered Debra Reese.’

In a news conference on May 4, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, defended Lee’s execution.

He said the new evidence is ‘inconclusive’ and ‘the jury found him guilty based upon the information they had.’

‘Whenever you make tough decisions, whenever you have to carry out the decision of a jury.

You realize that it’s been reviewed by the Supreme Court at every level.

‘ Hutchinson, who scheduled Lee’s 2017 execution, said. ‘They affirm the convictions, and it’s my duty to carry out the law.’

The woman who prosecuted the case against Lee had also previously expressed confidence that the jury did the right thing in sentencing him to death all those years ago, according to the Washington Post.

Family of death row inmate who was executed in 2017 say new DNA evidence found on murder weapon could prove his innocence

 

Family of death row inmate who was executed in 2017 say new DNA evidence found on murder weapon could prove his innocence

After he was arrested in the Reese homicide, Lee’s DNA had been linked to four other crimes –

Three sexual assault cases and another homicide, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, but the homicide and one of the assault charges were ultimately dropped.

In the Reese case, Lee’s family and advocates said, prosecutors relied heavily on eyewitness testimony from Reese’s neighborhood.

Who said they saw Lee walking around the neighborhood the morning she was killed

But Lee was never linked to the crime through DNA analysis.

‘Instead, the state convicted Mr. Lee by vastly overstating the nature.

And significance of the limited forensic testing conducted at that time.

Including tests that its own experts admitted were ultimately ‘inconclusive,’ the court documents said.

They further argued that a review uncovered flaws in the evidence used against Lee.

Including a biased photo lineup. Groups had previously submitted affidavits from forensic experts questioning this evidence.

And raising questions about the prosecution’s claim that a partial shoe print found at the scene matched Lee’s shoe size.

The ACLU asked for new DNA testing prior to Lee’s execution and claimed that Lee’s intellectual disability stemming from fetal alcohol syndrome was ‘never noticed let alone brought to the court or the jury’s attention.’

The group joined forces with the Innocence Project to push for the testing, but the Arkansas Supreme Court ultimately upheld Lee’s conviction.

So follow us on Instagram Facebook and Twitter for more updates and articles.

Subscribe to our website you that you get updates

Donate to support the maintenance of our website: kindly consider donating to this amazing cause. I love you, as my readers, and pray that you all will find peace as you enjoy this site

 

1 Comment

  • zortilonrel , 16 August 2021 @ 2:06 am

    I really like your writing style, superb info , appreciate it for putting up : D.

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