Friday, May 23, 2008

DNA Clears Man on Tx Death Row

From the Houston Chronicle:

Prosecutors said Friday that new testing of DNA evidence no longer connects a man sent to death row for a 1993 child slaying that led to the creation of tough sex offender laws, and a state district judge recommended a new trial.

Collin County prosecutors stopped short of saying Michael Blair is innocent of killing strangling and molesting 7-year-old Ashley Estell. But they said evidence used in his 1994 conviction no longer holds up, and acknowledged that another man may have committed the crime.

"There is no good faith argument to support the current conviction in light of the facts and the law as they now exist," Collin County District Attorney John Roach said in a statement.

State District Judge Webb Biard recommended Friday that Blair be granted a new trial and have his sentence set aside. The case now proceeds to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

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