(LibertySociety.com) – A convicted man was released from prison on December 11 after a judge ruled that his constitutional rights were violated in 2005 when he was on trial for murder. Unreliable evidence was used to convict Marvin Haynes of murdering 55-year-old Randy Sherer during a Minneapolis flower shop robbery when he was just 16 years old.
Haynes was identified by a primary eyewitness as the killer, but investigators showed the witness an older photograph of Haynes that was not representative of his appearance at the time of the murder. Investigators did not find any DNA or fingerprint evidence that tied Haynes to the crime. Judge William Koch ruled that Haynes would not have been convicted if the unconstitutional eyewitness evidence was not used in the trial.
Haynes was represented by attorneys from the Innocence Project. Judge Koch provided an overview of how the attorneys provided compelling evidence when comparing Haynes’ physical features at the time to the description provided by the primary witness. Judge Koch said that Haynes was “significantly younger” and “had much longer hair” than the eyewitness described. He was far shorter and weighed 50 pounds less than the eyewitness said when speaking with investigators. Other aspects of the eyewitness descriptions were not reflective of Haynes, notably in the way he was described to have spoken during the killing. Four of Haynes’s sisters testified at the hearing. All of them claimed that he was at home asleep right before Sherer was killed.
Haynes was as excited as one could expect after he was released from prison. He thanked the people who helped him and suggested that everyone could acknowledge that he did not kill Sherer. Later that day, Haynes appeared alongside his family for a press conference, where he said that he had experienced a strong wave of emotions and cried more than he had in the last 19 years. He said that he plans to find a job and return to a normal life, starting with visiting his mother.
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