A Connecticut judge has dismissed a 1991 murder indictment against Alfred Swinton who spent 16 years in prison until DNA and other evidence cleared him of the crime for which he maintained his innocence from the day police handcuffed him, according to the Innocence Project.
Swinton was arrested in 1991 for the murder of Carla Terry because he had been in the same bar the night she was murdered. A judge, however, tossed the case because he said there wasn’t enough evidence linking Swinton to the crime.
Seven years later, police again arrested him after finding a bra in a box in the apartment building where Swinton lived at the time of the murder. A bite mark on the victim’s breast reportedly linked Swinton’s teeth marks to the crime. In 2001, he was convicted for the Terry’s murder and sentenced to 60 years.
Terry’s sister testified that she gave the bra to her to wear that night, but a 2015 DNA test—known as touch DNA—revealed that neither Swinton nor Carla Terry’s DNA was on the bra. The state laboratory also conducted a second DNA test on the bite mark and the test determined that it didn’t belong Swinton.
Dr. Gus Karazulas, the chief forensic odontologist, now admits his testimony wasn’t based on scientific evidence, reported the Innocence Project, which is based in New York City.
Swinton, who is 69 and walks with the assistance of walker, is the 30th person since 2000 whose conviction was vacated in 2017 or dismissed based, at least in part, on bite-mark evidence, the Innocence Project reported.
Police are still hunting for Terry’s killer and the killer of four other area women.