Students DNA find could free convicted murderer

An Inns of Court School of Law (ICSL) student has unearthed vital evidence that could lead to the exoneration of a man serving a life sentence for murder in the US.

Marcus Joyce, who started at the ICSL this year, spent the summer working for Innocence Project, a non-profit group that takes on cases at post-conviction stage and seeks to get new trials solely through the use of DNA evidence.

On the first day of his internship Joyce was handed the case of a murdered woman who was killed in 1997 in a southern state of the US. Sifting through the trial transcript, Joyce discovered that after being put through a new test, the materials found under the nails of the victim did not match the defendants genetic code.

Joyce also discovered from the transcript that three hairs were found at the murder scene, although these were, at the time, considered to be a routine anomaly. The judge is considering the new developments and the evidence is undergoing the new DNA testing.

If you can match the material and the hairs then you are probably talking about complete exoneration, said Joyce. If this happens, the murder inquiry could also be reopened in an attempt to find the real killer.

I feel very glad to be have been involved in something that could lead to an exoneration, but its not about me, its just good that this can give this guy a chance to prove his innocence, said Joyce.

The 24-year-old, who is studying his BVC and has a pupillage in 3 Temple Gardens, hopes to become a criminal defence barrister to continue to prevent miscarriages of justice.