Putting Their Hopes in DNA

Two men in prison for a shop owners death hope that new DNA evidence will set them free

They've been behind bars for more than a decade, now two men are hoping DNA evidence will be able to free them.

Ronald Taylor and George Gould are serving 80 years for the 1993 murder of a New Haven shop owner and are now waiting for a superior court judge in Rockville to rule on their request for a new trial.

The two men hope New Haven's State's Attorney Michael Dearington's office will finish a two-year investigation of Eugenio Vega DeLeon's murder. 

 A private investigator says DNA found on the ends of an electrical cord used to tie DeLeon's hands does not match up with the two inmates.

The public defender's office hired Gerald O'Donnell, a former Cheshire police officer and state inspector who worked for Dearington.  His three-year investigation has been put into an 800-page binder of information.

O'Donnell determined the state's key witness, a prostitute who claimed to have seen Taylor and Gould leave DeLeon's store shortly before his body was found, recanted her story to O'Donnell.

If the men do get a new trial, it would not be unprecedented. Last month, Miguel Roman of New Britain was freed from prison after 20 years and given a new trial. Another man was charged with the 1988 killing of a teenager and two other slayings in the 1980s.

James Calvin Tillman of Hartford, who was imprisoned for 18 years for rape, was freed in 2006 when new DNA evidence proved his innocence. The state awarded him $5 million for his wrongful conviction.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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