- Man shot by police ID'd; witness shares his side of story (2/17/17)31
- Panda Express restaurant coming to Cape's Siemers Drive (2/14/17)2
- Settlement reached in accidental shooting case at Kelly High (2/15/17)10
- Jackson board votes to demolish high school building if bond issue passes (2/15/17)24
- MSHP: McLendon shot in side; autopsy refutes witness account (2/19/17)21
- Cape officer shoots man inside a home (2/16/17)7
- Southeast reports three confirmed cases of mumps; more cases possible (2/14/17)1
- Right to Work and Taxes (2/10/17)
- Former Cape cop indicted on possessing child porn (2/17/17)
- Man dies after being shot by officer; said to have come at cop with knife (2/16/17)29
The Kezer conviction
Joshua Kezer is serving a 60-year sentence for murder based on the recanted and unrecanted testimony of three inmate snitches, one of whom admitted in a letter it was a scam concocted to bargain down their own jail time with prosecutors.
Meanwhile, other men have reportedly bragged about their roles in the 1992 murder of Mischelle Lawless, which was chalked up to bravado.
Kezer's case has been under the microscope for several months. It was re-opened by Scott County Sheriff Rick Walter more than two years ago. It caught the attention of St. Louis lawyers, the Innocence Project, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and more recently reporter Bridget DiCosmo of the Southeast Missourian. DiCosmo's reporting raised many questions and scenarios about Lawless' death.
Kezer's conviction is anything but certain. It seems troubling that snitches' wobbly testimony and other witnesses' changing stories carried more weight than Kezer's relatives who say they saw Kezer in Kankakee, Ill., two hours before Lawless was killed in Benton, Mo. Not only does DNA evidence nor any other physical evidence put Kezer at the crime scene, there are other suspects who appear at least as likely of having the opportunity of committing the crime.
Walter should be commended for reopening the case. It would also be prudent for the Missouri State Highway Patrol to release evidence (a bullet from a closed death row case) that could shed light on the killer.
If Kezer is innocent, then he has lived out America's worst nightmare. This case serves as a reminder to us all that we are innocent until proven guilty and that finding the truth is much more important than getting a conviction. On June 9, a judge will hear evidence and decide if a new trial or exoneration is warranted. Based on the evidence and testimony provided by court documents, law enforcement and witnesses, a new trial would seem to be justified.