Man Convicted of Child's Murder Exonerated - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Noxubee County 02/15/08

Man Convicted of Child's Murder Exonerated

by Kandiss Crone
kandiss@wlbt.net

Annie Brewer screamed with joy after a Noxubee County judge exonerated her son of a crime he did not commit.

"I just kept praying, kept my faith in God. Did you ever think you'd see this day? Yes I did cause I knew I was innocent of what they accused me of," Kennedy Brewer said.

Brewer was wrongfully convicted of the 1992 rape and murder of a 3-year-old girl, and was sentenced to death. It wasn't until 2001 that DNA evidence from the crime was tested...and it eventually pointed to Justin Albert Johnson...a suspect early on in the investigation.

Peter Neufeld, with The Innocence Project, blames fraudulent evidence for both men's conviction.

"You have a local forensic dentist who fabricated evidence in both these cases to get two innocent men convicted," Neufeld said.

Based on their investigation, The Innocence Project and Brewer's lawyer found Johnson was responsible for an identical crime that occurred 18 months before the crime Brewer was convicted of.

"God been by my side. He know my heart. He know what type of guy I was so he stood by me. No matter how hard it was at one time God stood by me and now I can be with my family," Levon Brooks said.

In 1992, Brooks was wrongfully convicted of the 1990 rape and murder of his ex-girlfriends three year old daughter.

At Friday's hearing, Judge Lee Howard released Brooks on his own recognizance.

The Innocence Project was called in to work on the cases when Brewer's lawyer Carrie Jourdan needed financial help proving her client's innocence...and in doing so, the attorneys found a link to Brewer and Brook's cases.

"We needed some help pushing the case and The Innocence Project was able to do that by developing the additional DNA and pretty early on we saw the connection between this case and the Levon Brooks case," Carrie Jourdan said.

Despite being incarcerated for more than a decade, both men say they are not bitter, but merely look forward to the days to come.

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