JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOX)-The effort to free a man who was convicted of raping and murdering a court clerk in her south St. Louis home 30 years ago moves to a Cole County, Missouri courtroom this morning.
George Allen confessed to killing Mary Bell in her LaSalle Park home in 1982, but attorneys with the Bryan Cave law firm and the Innocence Project will argue that DNA and new blood and fingerprint evidence prove that Allen is innocent.
Attorney Dan Harvath tells KMOX, “It seems as though we’re talking about minor details, but in a case like this that was based almost entirely on a confession these aren’t minor details.”
Harvath says Allen is severely mentally ill and that his confession was coerced.
He says Allen’s mental illness is one reason it’s taken this long for his case to get this far, “When he’s in prison surrounded by plenty of gentlemen all claiming they’re innocent, I’m not certain his message really broke through so well.”
Allen was convicted in his second trail in 1982 and was sentenced to 95 years in prison. Harvath says he was spared the death sentence because a juror’s family member died before they could hear the penalty phase.