STORY: "After 46 years in prison, man argues DNA evidence proves he is innocent of 4-year-old’s murder," by reporter Justin Jouvenal, published by The Washington Post on October 22, 2016.
GIST: "When Sherman Brown was convicted and imprisoned in the brutal killing of a 4-year-old Virginia boy, the Vietnam War was still raging and the Watergate was just a hotel, not a scandal. Then 22 years old, he maintained his innocence at the time and as each decade faded into the next. Now, after nearly a half- century behind bars, Brown is petitioning Virginia’s Supreme Court, saying DNA collected from newly recovered evidence indicates that he could not have committed the murder. Justices now will have to weigh whether that genetic evidence is strong enough to warrant overturning his 1970 conviction in Albemarle County. If Brown, 69, is exonerated, he would be among the longest-serving prisoners to be cleared of a crime in the history of Virginia and the nation. It would be an extraordinary turnabout for a man who was initially sentenced to death before the sentence was reduced to life. “Recent DNA testing demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence what I have maintained for over 45 years: that I am innocent of this crime,” Brown wrote in his writ of actual innocence filed in early October and first reported by the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “The evidence against me at trial was deeply flawed. Brown was convicted of first-degree murder after a vicious 1969 attack near Charlottesville, Va., during which a woman was beaten, stabbed and possibly raped in her home. The same man also fatally stabbed the woman’s 4-year-old son, leaving him face down on his bed. The mother survived and identified Brown as her attacker. He was also linked to the crime via a type of fiber and hair analysis that the FBI in recent years has acknowledged is flawed, in part after reporting by The Washington Post. Brown writes in court filings that new tests ruled him out as the source of a partial male DNA profile found in a recently recovered slide containing a vaginal swab taken from the woman after the attack. Neither the woman nor her son are identified in recent court records. The tests also showed a greater than 98 percent chance that the material did not come from the woman’s husband, according to the filing. The woman recently told prosecutors she had a monogamous relationship with her husband, Brown’s attorneys said in the court papers, arguing that the DNA must have come from an unidentified third man who was the actual attacker. Brown’s attorneys, who include lawyers from the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project and New York’s Innocence Project, said that the type of Y-chromosome DNA recovered from the swab cannot be matched against DNA samples of known perpetrators contained in state or federal databases.........At trial, an FBI agent testified that Brown’s hair was found on a sweatshirt that also contained fibers that matched a robe the woman was wearing during the attack, tying Brown to the crime. The woman’s testimony and forensic evidence was enough for an all-white jury to convict Brown after a brief deliberation. He was sentenced to death.........In 2008, the Innocence Project reached an agreement with the Albemarle County prosecutor’s office to begin DNA testing in the case. After an audit, the Justice Department also recently told Brown’s attorneys that the FBI agent erred in his analysis of the hairs found on the sweatshirt. But the true break came last year, when members of the University of Virginia’s Innocence Project discovered the slide containing the vaginal swab at the school’s Department of Pathology."
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: http://www.thestar.com/topic/
Harold Levy. Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.