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Murder Charge Dropped Against John Edgar Wideman’s Son

January 13, 1991

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) _ A murder charge against the imprisoned son of author John Edgar Wideman was dropped for lack of evidence, prosecutors said.

Jacob Edgar Wideman was charged after confessing to the 1985 stabbing of a 20-year-old Laramie woman, whose body was found by firefighters dousing a blaze in her apartment.

Wideman, 20, later recanted the confession he made from an Arizona prison, where he is serving a life term for fatally stabbing Eric Kane during a youth group camping trip in 1986, police said.

Wideman said he confessed to killing Shelly Wiley to get attention. Prosecutor Cal Rerucha said he was plagued by doubts about the case since Wideman’s unsolicited confession.

″When you prosecute a case you want a felling in your own mind that you got the right person,″ Rerucha said. ″I just don’t have that feeling right now.″

A DNA test performed in April using blood found in Wiley’s apartment showed the blood was neither Wideman’s nor Wiley’s, Rerucha said.

″I simply don’t have a case,″ Rerucha said. ″We’re right where we were in 1985. No closer to knowing how this happened.″

Among the books of the acclaimed elder Wideman are ″Philadelphia Fire″ and ″Brothers and Keepers.″ The latter is about the life of the writer’s brother, who is in prison in connection with a murder.

Wideman is a former professor at the University of Wyoming.

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