A man who has been in prison for about 16 years for allegedly raping and murdering a Kalkaska woman in 1996 will now get a new trial thanks to recent testing of DNA evidence, according to a news article at Mlive.com. Jamie Peterson was sentenced to life in prison for the 1996 crimes against Geraldine Montgomery, who was 68 years old at the time she was found dead in the trunk of her car after being raped.
At the time the crimes took place, DNA technology was in is infancy. The source of saliva and semen found on Montgomery’s shirt could not be identified, although prosecutors argued that it likely belonged to the defendant, Jamie Peterson.
Last year, the Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago and Michigan Law School innocent projects concluded that Peterson had been wrongly convicted of the crime after sending hundreds of hours researching the case. DNA testing that was performed recently indicated that the saliva and semen did not belong to Peterson, but instead to James Anthony Ryan, a 35-year-old Davison man. The victim was raped before being left in the trunk of her car with the engine running.
The Innocence Clinic maintains that the DNA testing performed on the rape kit excludes Peterson as the donor. Ryan is awaiting trial on the charges, while Peterson will get a new trial as according to the judge, the DNA test results qualify as newly discovered evidence. Although Peterson made a false confession at the time of the rape and murder, his attorney maintains his client is innocent, and was never inside the victim’s home.
Michigan sex crime attorneys know all too well that suspects often confess when under duress and pressured relentlessly by police. While the most horrendous aspect of this case is the fact that the victim lost her life, being falsely accused of rape happens all too often. A man has spent many years of his life in prison for a crime he very likely did not commit, according to new DNA evidence.
Both murder and rape are criminal offenses punished by the maximum penalty of life in prison. First-degree criminal sexual conduct involves penetration, and depending on the circumstances of the case and the alleged victim’s age can result in a life sentence. This is a very serious offense, which requires the legal support of a skilled Michigan sex crime lawyer. If you are under investigation for any sex-related crime, it is urgent that you contact a capable defense attorney immediately.