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Man convicted of murder freed after 36 years

Man convicted of murder freed after 36 years

June 18th, 2018 by Associated Press in Local News

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Missouri man who served 36 years in prison is enjoying his freedom with his family after he had his sentence commuted by former Gov. Eric Greitens.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Rodney Lincoln, 73, had been serving two life sentences for the 1982 death of JoAnn Tate and attack on her two daughters. Tate was sexually assaulted and fatally stabbed.

Lincoln remained in prison despite key pieces of his conviction falling apart. A hair found at the scene that was previously thought to be his was proven not to be, and the young daughter who identified him as the attacker recanted her accusation.

Lincoln's daughter, Kay Lincoln, put together transcripts and police reports and sought the help of the nonprofit Midwest Innocence Project, which takes cases of people suspected of being wrongly convicted. The group took Lincoln's case in 2004 and fought for DNA testing.

It was six more years before they were allowed to perform the testing, which showed Lincoln couldn't be tied to the scene with any DNA evidence. However, a judge ruled the lack of DNA evidence didn't rule Lincoln out of the case.

Greitens said in a release that Lincoln had served time for "a crime he did not commit" and was "wrongly convicted." Lincoln was released June 1.

Lincoln, who's reconnecting with his family, said he's focused on his future.

"I'm going to do the best I can to enjoy every day I have left," Lincoln said. "I will be growing, until my days run out. Because of my family, my support group, the guy at Petro Mart, the lady over at Steak 'n Shake, the people over in Walmart — every time I meet one person that offers me a little kindness, I'm going to grow just a little bit more."