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Authorities must right wrongs in murder case

February 3, 2019 GMT

Please help us stop a child predator and murder suspect from being released on Feb. 8. The man is currently in an Ohio prison serving time for not registering as a sex offender in connection with the rape of a 13-year old which he impregnated. The man is also a direct link to the Deanna Crawford murder, based upon DNA testing.

I am the mother of two of the men who were wrongfully convicted in the murder of Deanna Crawford and who are still trying to prove their innocence.

DNA testing has exonerated both my sons through two separate pieces of evidence found near the crime scene — both of which belong to to the man who is about to be released from prison.

DNA was tested through semen found on the victim’s pants as well as a cigarette butt.

However, it was only during the last few months that the Innocence Project learned that state troopers knew all along about the identity of the DNA found on the cigarette butt belonging to this man, but failed to disclose that to them until accidentally doing so during one of their hearings.

Why did troopers fail to share that crucial part of evidence or even question the Ohio man during any of their investigations? We have to ask ourselves why. What else arc they hiding?

Currently, we are STILL waiting for the court to reschedule the hearing that was to have taken place on Feb. 27-28, as they (again and again) are not ready. This case was recently turned over from Cabell County to Wayne County as Cabell County Prosecuting Attorney (Sean) Hammers recused himself from the case.

Now we are hearing that it may not be scheduled until May. We have been hearing excuses for about two years now and the court is still not ready. What happens when May comes around? Yet another delay?

The Innocence Project has been ready for about two years waiting to prove my sons’ innocence as well as the innocence of two other men. The court system has delayed this case so long that now it is time for the prisoner in Ohio to be released. I suspect this man will probably fall off authorities’ radar, knowing he has been under suspicion in this case.

What has happened to our court system when they would rather release a child predator who has a history of violence against women and children and has direct ties to the murder of Deanna Crawford than admit they made a mistake in their rush for conviction of innocent men who are STILL waiting to prove their innocence?

Instead, this same court system would rather save face than admit a huge mistake was made in their conviction, now knowing the liability they’ve created in their rush for conviction in order to solve a cold case. Instead, they are allowing the release of this man back into society without charging him in connection with the Crawford murder or at the very least holding him in custody until this case is heard. At what price will it really cost the State of West Virginia?

Why is it more important for a prosecutor to win a case above all else regardless of the defendants’ innocence than put people first and ensuring everyone a fair trial and doing everything possible to ensure innocent people don’t go to prison? It is this same system that doesn’t care about people, but rather the status of officials’ resumes or another win or feather in their cap. Would a prosecutor want this same treatment done if it were his or her children? When does it stop? This is definitely part of the problem of a system not doing its job, as you hear all too often of wrongful convictions in the media. Both of my sons are yet another statistic in a failed system.

Cabell County — now Wayne County — needs to get it right and do the right thing!

Keep in mind the heartache of the Crawford family to go through yet another trial because Cabell County didn’t do the job correctly. How many more times will it take before they do so?

Please help us in stopping the release of this man on Feb. 8 by contacting the Wayne County prosecuting attorney’s office at 304-272-6395 and voice your right and concerns as to why are they releasing the man linked by DNA to the Deanna Crawford case and to help keep this person from being released at least until he can be charged. Allow time for Wayne County to get it right and do the right thing since Cabell County couldn’t do the job.

Tammy Barnett is a former Huntington resident now living in Georgia.