And finally, “In law school, I worked with my school’s innocence project. One of the cases I was assigned to was that of a young man who had been convicted of the murder of a teenage runaway. My partner on the case and I were pretty convinced he was innocent (he never confessed, had an alibi, had no criminal record, and the people implicating him were trying to avoid prison sentences of their own), but we needed DNA evidence to exonerate him. We knew his DNA did not match the DNA found on the victim, but since the state had dropped the sexual assault charge, we couldn’t prove he hadn’t murdered her *after* she had been assaulted (wild, I know). We interviewed as many witnesses as we could find, and obtained DNA samples from those who would willingly provide them.”
“One of the witnesses we had talked to, Walter, was one of the last people to see the victim alive. We spoke to him at length on the phone, and he seemed genuinely interested in finding out what happened to the girl, but he would not provide us with a DNA sample. So, the case went quiet for a couple years.
Then, the DNA database found a match for the DNA found on the girl. A man named Walter Ellis had been arrested for sexually assaulting and murdering seven women in the Milwaukee area. This was the same man we had spoken with about the young woman’s murder. The police had interviewed him after her murder and had cleared him of any wrongdoing. Instead, an innocent man was convicted of the murder that Ellis had committed. After this murder, he went on to commit three more murders. Ellis was responsible for 10 total murders in Milwaukee. He was charged with seven. Three different men were charged with the remaining three of the murders, with two of those men being wrongfully convicted.”
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