Milwaukee County prosecutors and national experts will review the 2,100 homicide prosecutions filed in the county since 1992 in an effort to identity cases in which further DNA testing could either confirm or cast doubt upon the defendant’s guilt, District Attorney John Chisholm said yesterday, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The sweeping review, which Chisholm hopes to complete within three to four months, is in response to at least three cases in which men who were convicted of homicide were released based up new DNA tests that identified a different suspect.
Yesterday, a judge ordered that William Avery, convicted in the 1998 strangulation of a Milwaukee prostitute, be released from prison based upon a new DNA test that links the murder to a suspected serial killer. In another homicide case, Robert Lee Stinson spent 23 years in prison before he was freed in 2009, after the Wisconsin Innocence Project produced evidence showing that DNA and bite marks found on the victim could not have come from Stinson. The decision to review all Milwaukee homicide cases since 1992 stems largely from the discovery last year that 17,698 DNA profiles were missing from Wisconsin’s databank of felons’ DNA.