Could convicted Minn. serial killer be innocent? - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Could convicted Minn. serial killer be innocent?

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

New and compelling DNA evidence could prove that a man who was convicted of serial murders 25 years ago is innocent -- and that the actual culprit is a free man living in Minneapolis.

The Innocence Project is pushing for a new trial for Billy Glaze, who was convicted of the brutal murders of three Native American women back in 1989 -- but lawyers with the group say they know who the real killer is.

"Those were bloody, messy, horrible crime scenes," Edward Magarian, of Dorsey & Whitney, said.

Prosecutors use DNA evidence every day to earn convictions, but the technology was not available back in 1989. Now, it appears to be a smoking gun for Glaze's defense.

According to Magarian, recently-conducted DNA testing of 39 pieces of evidence from the crime scenes found no links to Blaze.

"The thought that you find no DNA whatsoever to Billy Glaze at anything is telling," Magarian said.

Blaze's murder trial relied mostly on witnesses, not physical evidence -- but the modern review is painting a very different picture.

"In the 1980s, that was true. There wasn't any physical evidence pointing to anybody else," Magarian acknowledged. "In 2014, yes there is -- and it's the holy grail of evidence pointing to somebody else."

DNA taken from one victim not only excluded Blaze but was also a complete profile linked to two of the three crime scenes. When entered into the national database, they got a positive match to a Minneapolis sex offender who was arrested for kidnapping and raping a Native American girl.

"We're happy to take a fresh look at the case," Deputy Hennepin County Attorney Dave Brown told Fox 9 News. "Nothing we've seen so far has changed our opinion that Billy Glaze is the person who committed these sexual mutilations and murders."

Over the years, the Hennepin County Attorney's Office has retested DNA evidence from more than 3,600 cases without a single person being exonerated. Even so, that's not discouraging the Innocence Project. They hope Glaze will be the first.

"We have a mission to do justice here," Brown said. "We do it in every case, and we work hard to make sure we have the right person convicted of the right crime."

Two senior prosecutors have been assigned to review the 80-page petition, but it could take weeks or even months before they will determine whether Glaze will get a new trial.

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