Prosecutors: DNA doesn’t prove 2 innocent in fatal robbery
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Prosecutors want two men imprisoned for nearly a quarter-century in the killing of a New Jersey video-store clerk returned to prison while they await new trials.
The convictions of Eric Kelley and Ralph Lee were overturned last September after new tests found someone else’s DNA on a key piece of evidence. Their bails were reduced from $1 million to $20,000 apiece, and they were freed in November after the New Jersey Supreme Court turned down Passaic County prosecutors’ appeal of the bail decision.
Lee and Kelley were convicted of murder in the 1993 death of 22-year-old Tito Merino in Paterson.
Prosecutors told a state appellate court Monday that the DNA evidence doesn’t prove the pair innocent. But defense lawyers say prosecutors are trying to cover for a bungled criminal case.
It’s not clear when the appellate court will issue its ruling.