George Allen sits in prison, eight years after DNA test cleared him.
He's been incarcerated for three decades for the brutal murder of Mary Bell, a St. Louis court reporter whose nude body was found stabbed to death in her LaSalle Park apartment in 1982. And again today attorneys with the Innocence Project will argue that George Allen be released.
After the jury deadlocked in his initial trial, Allen was tried again and convicted of murdering and raping Bell. At the time of that trial, prosecutors stated that seminal fluid found on Bell's clothes suggested that Allen committed the deed. But that was before DNA testing. In 2004 the Riverfront Times obtained through a Sunshine Law request
a then-recent test of the evidence from the St. Louis police department. Those results found that, per the report, "George Allen could not be a contributor to this mixture."
So who did the seminal fluid found on Bell's clothes belong to? According to DNA analysis, it was "consistent with" her boyfriend at the time, St. Louis attorney Russell Watters. Watters recently made news for his lawsuit that got a judge to declare St. Louis' red-light camera ordinance void
. Based on alibis, police ruled out Watters and Bell's estranged husband, John Bell, as suspects.
As RFT reported
back in 2004:
Allen, who lived in University City, didn't own a car. In order to kill Bell, he would have had to walk several miles in almost twenty inches of snow. A neighbor testified that at around 10 a.m. on the morning of the murder, she heard angry male and female voices come from Bell's apartment. She assumed it was Bell and Russell Watters...At the first trial, which began in April 1983, [Allen's attorney] Doug Levine argued, "I submit to you that it was consensual sexual intercourse to start, and I submit to you that she wouldn't have opened the door to let just anybody back in. She would have let Russell [Watters] back in. And I submit to you that they had consensual sex, and that something went crazy, something caused the argument that the lady next door heard, and then it was all over."
Allen, a diagnosed schizophrenic, has long professed his innocence. However, he did initially confess to the crime -- following a grueling police interrogation in which Allen was intoxicated throughout parts of the questioning. At today's hearing in Cole County Circuit Court, Allen's legal team is expected to present exculpatory DNA evidence, as well as newly discovered serology evidence that only adds to the mystery.
Attorneys with the Innocence Project and St. Louis law firm Bryan Cave say that type-B antigens found in semen stains at the crime scene could not possibly have come from Allen, Watters or John Bell and that that evidence was withheld from the defense at the time of Allen's trial.