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A surprising judicial overturn: A Missouri woman is declared innocent by a judge after spending 43 years in prison for a murder she did not commit

This is Sandra Hemme, who was convicted four decades ago for the murder of Patricia Jeschke on November 12, 1980. Now the evidence points to a deceased police officer.

una mujer de Missouri es declarada inocente por un juez tras pasar 43 años en prisión por un asesinato que no cometió

Imagen de referencia. (Pexels)


In a stunning judicial turn, a Missouri woman who spent more than four decades in prison for a murder she did not commit was found not guilty by a judge.

This is Sandra Hemme, who was convicted 40 years ago of the murder of Patricia Jeschke on November 12, 1980, in St. Joseph, Missouri.

According to Livingston County Circuit Judge Ryan Horsman, who reviewed a lengthy 118-page petition, Hemme's innocence is “clear and convincing.”

The decision was made after an exhaustive review of the case that revealed judicial errors and exculpatory evidence that was openly ignored by the authorities and the Prosecutor's Office. Now, all the evidence points to a deceased police officer linked to the victim.

The judge noted that Hemme must be released or retried for the 1980 murder within the next 30 days. However, this Tuesday, Missouri's top prosecutor asked the courts to stop the release of the woman, who suffered from severe mental problems when she was convicted.

According to NBC News, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey said his office will ask the state appeals court to review the judge's ruling to try to block Hemme's release.

The news network had access to the 118-page petition that would prove Hemme's innocence.

“Hemmes' lawyers argued that evidence in the 1980 slaying points to the guilt of a now-dead St. Joseph police officer, Michael Holman, who committed a series of crimes before and after 31-year-old Jeschke’s death and was tied directly to the homicide,” the report reads.

After reading the petition, Judge Horsman said in his findings that Hemme's trial attorney did a poor job and questioned prosecutors for failing to reveal evidence that could have proven her innocence at the time.

“This Court finds that the evidence as a whole establishes that Ms. Hemme’s statements inculpating herself are inconsistent, contradicted by physical evidence and accounts of reliable, independent witnesses, and that Ms. Hemme’s impaired psychiatric condition when questioned substantially undermine the reliability of those statements as evidence of guilt,” Horsman said. "... This Court further finds that no evidence whatsoever outside of Ms. Hemme’s unreliable statements connects her to the crime."

According to Hemme's lawyers, the woman admitted her guilt while she was being treated in a state psychiatric hospital where she forcibly consumed powerful medications that left her practically unconscious and at the mercy of third parties.

The Innocence Project, based in New York, was the organization that reviewed and handled Hemme's case.

In a statement, the organization said Hemme spent 43 years unjustly imprisoned.

"No witnesses linked Ms. Hemme to the murder, the victim, or the crime scene. She had no motive to harm Ms. Jeschke, nor was there any evidence that the two had ever met. Neither did any physical or forensic evidence link Ms. Hemme to the killing," reads the statement, which targeted the police officer Michael Holman, who died in 2015 and now, according to the evidence revealed, could be the actual perpetrator of the crime.

“Michael Holman, who was found using the victim’s credit card the day after the murder; whose truck was seen parked near the victim’s home at the time she was killed; in whose closet the victim’s earrings were discovered; and who in the months before and after Ms. Jeschke’s murder, committed many other crimes against women," The Innocence Project noted, accusing authorities of covering up for Holman.

In his conclusions, the judge agreed with several evidence points against Holman, who was not seriously investigated by the authorities.

"The State also withheld evidence of his extensive criminal behavior, which included repeated home burglaries, crimes of dishonesty, and stalking offenses. Additional evidence also established that Holman was near Ms. Jeschke’s home the night she was killed; and that his explanation for why he was in the area on the evening of the murder was untrue, all of which the jury did not hear," the judge concluded. "This Court also finds the record shows the SJPD failed to seriously investigate Holman as a suspect."