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New DNA information emerges in Ledell Lee case, 4 years after execution

by Lara Farrar | April 30, 2021 at 3:33 p.m.
In this April 18, 2017, file photo, Ledell Lee appears in Pulaski County Circuit Court for a hearing in which lawyers argued to stop his execution.

Four years after the execution of an inmate convicted of murdering his Jacksonville neighbor in 1993, new DNA evidence has emerged revealing genetic material and fingerprints from an unknown male, according to a report released Friday from the Innocence Project and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Ledell Lee maintained his innocence until he was executed on April 20, 2017, for the murder of Debra Reese. Lee was convicted in 1995.

DNA testing of evidence from the crime scene, including the murder weapon and a bloody shirt, revealed the profile of an unknown male. New fingerprints found on crime scene evidence could also not be identified, according to the Innocence Project and the ACLU.

The DNA and fingerprint profiles have been entered into a national database but so far no matches have been identified.

“While the results obtained 29 years after the evidence was collected proved to be incomplete and partial, it is notable that there are now new DNA profiles that were not available during the trial and post-conviction proceedings in Mr. Lee’s case,” Nina Morrison, Innocence Project senior litigation counsel, said in a statement.

“We are hopeful that one or more of these forensic law enforcement databases will generate additional information in the future,” Morrison said.

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