The black man who spent 26 years on death row after being wrongfully convicted of killing a white Mississippi woman is finally released.
Eddie Lee Howard, 67, was put behind bars on death row in 1994. He was found guilty of the 1992 killing of 84-year-old Columbus woman Georgia Kemp, based on an outdated bite mark.
Now, 26 years later, Howard had his murder conviction vacated, asÂ revealedÂ by Daily Mail.
In August, the Mississippi Supreme Court stated that anÂ âindividual perpetrator cannot be reliably identified through bite mark comparison.âÂ After debunking the validation of the key evidence, the court vacated Howardâs conviction and death sentence and ordered a further trial. In December, the innocent man was freed from the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
On January 11, 2021, Eddie Lee Howard was finally freed after more than 26 years of jail time he didnât deserve.
AsÂ reportedÂ by CBS News, District Attorney Scott Colom confirmed on Monday that prosecutors dropped the murder charge against Howard. According to Colom, there was not enough evidence to convict HowardÂ âbeyond a reasonable doubt.âÂ
The attorney added:
âMy ethical and legal responsibility requires that I dismiss the case.â
After being set free, the wrongfully convicted man was photographed happily throwing his hands in the air while walking away from prison.
Eddie Lee Howard was beyond happy to finally receive the justice he deserved. AsÂ perÂ the Innocence Project, which represented the former prisoner, he said:
âI want to say many thanks to the many people who are responsible for helping to make my dream of freedom a reality.â
Additionally, M. Chris Fabricant, one of Howardâs Innocence Project attorneys, expressed his gratitude to the Mississippi Supreme Court for takingÂ âa powerful stance in rejecting junk science.â
âWe are thankful that the Court has identified this breakdown in Mr. Howardâs case, ruling that debunked science has no place in our justice system.â
As per the Supreme Court ruling, it all began on February 2, 1992.
At the time, one of Georgia Kempâs neighbors noticed there was smoke coming from her home. When firefighters responded to the call, they discovered the womanâs body on her bedroom floor covered in blood. Furthermore, they saw that the telephone line had been cut, probably with the bloody knife that they found in the house.
Apart from the two stab wounds, Dr. Steven Hayne, who performed the autopsy, concluded Kemp had injuries consistent with forced vaginal intercourse and strangulation.
Howard, who lived nearby, was found guilty of the womanâs murder, based on dental impressions and the testimony that he smelled of smoke. The claim was made by Kayfen Fulgham â his girlfriend and the mother of his child, whom he visited that day.
Four days later, on February 6, Columbus police detained Howard as a suspect and took him to a dentistâs office. The following day they determined that there were bite marks on Kempâs body, which wereÂ âconsistent withâÂ Howardâs teeth.
Thankfully, Howard is now enjoying his freedom. To everyone who helped him fight for his righteousness, he said:
âI thank you with all my heart, because without your hard work on my behalf, I would still be confined in that terrible place called the Mississippi Department of Corrections, on death row, waiting to be executed.â
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