DNA testing from a 1993 killing in Arkansas has revealed genetic material from a male other than the inmate executed for the murder four years ago, two groups said Friday.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the Innocence Project released summaries of the testing of evidence from the 1993 murder of Debra Reese. Ledell Lee, who was convicted of her murder, was one of four inmates executed by Arkansas in 2017.
The city of Jacksonville last year agreed to allow new tests on fingerprints and DNA evidence after the groups had sued.
The groups said the testing revealed DNA material from an unknown male other than Lee on the wooden club used to kill Reese and a bloody shirt that was wrapped around it. The groups said the DNA profile did not match any in a national database.
The groups also said that five fingerprints that had been discovered at the crime scene in 1993 were run in a national database but remain unidentified.
“While the results obtained twenty-nine 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 or post-conviction proceedings in Mr. Lee’s case,” Nina Morrison, Senior Litigation Counsel at the Innocence Project, said in a statement.
Morrison said the groups hoped that the databases would generate additional information in the future.
Lee was the first of four inmates Arkansas executed in April 2017 before its supply of a lethal injection drug expired. The state had originally planned to execute eight inmates, but four were spared by court rulings. Arkansas hasn’t executed any inmates since April 2017.