Eerie Parallels In NY Release, TN Execution Delay


Freed after serving 10 years for a murder he confessed to but did not commit, Douglas Warney, 44, celebrated the DNA tests that led the authorities to another suspect, reports the New York Times. Warney’s release came in a case similar to one in Nashville. There, Sedley Alley, who also had confessed to murder, was granted a two week stay of execution by Gov. Phil Bredesen of Tennessee so he could make new arguments for DNA testing that prosecutors have opposed and courts have not permitted.

The state Board of Probation and Parole voted 4 to 3 to recommend delaying the execution. Alley’s attorneys said the case of Warney in New York offered instructive parallels. “The Warney case is so eerily similar to ours that it’s scary,” said Kelley Henry, a federal defender in Nashville. In both cases, prosecutors said the men made convincing admissions of guilt, offering details that only the killers would know. Defense lawyers said that the confessions contained striking inconsistencies with important facts. In neither case were DNA tests conducted; the prosecutions rested almost entirely on the disputed confessions.


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