Judge Dismisses Cases Against Men Convicted In 1985 Murder

July 10, 2020 - 3:42 pm

TORRINGTON, Conn. (AP) - Two men who spent decades in prison based in part on
the erroneous testimony of world-famous forensic expert Henry Lee had all
charges against them dismissed Friday by a Connecticut Superior Court judge.
 The ruling by Superior Court Judge Dan Shaban came after the state Supreme
Court last year vacated the felony murder convictions  of Ralph ``Ricky'' Birch
and Shawn Henning in the Dec. 1, 1985, slaying of 65-year-old Everett Carr, of
New Milford.
 Birch has served more than 30 years of a 55-year sentence for felony murder.
Henning, who was 17 when the crime occurred, was granted probation in 2018 under
new rules for teenage offenders.
 Andrew O'Shea, Birch's attorney, said that despite an extremely bloody crime
scene, no DNA evidence was ever found linking the pair to Carr, who had been
stabbed 27 times, had his throat cut and suffered seven blows to the head.
Despite being identified as suspects shortly after the crime, no blood was found
on their clothes or in their car.
 During their trials, prosecutors presented evidence from forensic expert Henry
Lee, who would later gain fame as a witness in the O.J. Simpson murder case,
that it was possible for the assailants to avoid getting much blood on them.
 Lee also testified that a towel, which later was suggested could have been
touched by the killers while cleaning up, was found in a bathroom near the crime
the scene with stains consistent with blood. But later tests showed it was not
 In dismissing the charges, Judge Shaban ruled that there is no need for any
further investigation of Birch and Carr, who wore T-shirts Friday reading ``I
didn't do it,'' and ``I am innocent.`` Friday's brief hearings for the two men
were streamed online.

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