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Misidentification

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by: Abassos • August 19, 2010 • no comments

Check out this really great interview in Slate with Innocence Project cofounder Peter Neufeld. Here's a choice quote:

We took a deposition last week of a guy who was the lead detective in the prosecution of a young man named Jeffrey Deskovic. Jeff Deskovic was a 16-year-old white kid in Peekskill, N.Y., with no criminal record, when a 15-year-old girl was raped and murdered on her way home from school. This was in 1990. Jeffrey went to the police and said, "I knew her, I liked her, is there's anything I can do to help you solve this crime?" Well, the detective he spoke to had been told by somebody in the police academy that people who commit crimes often come forward offering to help. So this guy locked his sights on Jeffrey and after multiple encounters, the kid confesses. They then did DNA testing on the semen recovered from the girl, and Jeffrey was excluded. But [the prosecutors] never disclosed that; they simply dropped the rape charge and argued at trial that she must have had consensual sex with somebody else and Jeffrey was the murderer. Twenty-five years later, we took that DNA profile and ran it through the convicted felons database, and the profile of the semen matched a serial rape-murderer who was serving life in prison for attacking and killing another teenage girl in another town in Westchester a year and a half after the victim in Jeff's case was killed. Given that factual backdrop, you'd think that people would say, "You're right, we made a terrible, terrible error, we investigated the case incorrectly, and it led to this tragic result." But no. Even with the DNA evidence, even though the serial murder-rapist gave a full, detailed confession and provided all kinds of details that no one knew, but the real perpetrator could know, this detective just last week said, "I'm sorry, that's ridiculous, Jeffrey Deskovic is guilty. The only false confession in this whole matter is the false confession given by the serial rape-murderer."