Jim Parsons served 23 years of what nearly became a life sentence for the murder of his wife. In 2016, his conviction was overturned after intervention by the Ohio Innocence Project.
Jim was arrested 12 years after his wife's murder and his conviction was based on contaminated evidence. OIP staff worked on this case for ten years, aided by more than 20 law students. Staff and students uncovered troubling evidence about the forensic analyst, G. Michelle Yezzo, who worked for Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Her personnel filed indicated that there were several troubling aspects of her work, and that she was forcibly removed from her laboratory two months before Jim’s for contentious dealings with co-workers. A supervisor’s note in her file indicated that Yezzo would “stretch the truth to satisfy a [law enforcement] department.”
OIP’s work led to the Huron County Common Pleas Court ordering a new trial for Jim. He was released on his own recognizance. At the time of his release, Jim was gravely ill but able to spend time with his family, including his daughters, before his death in 2017.
You can learn more about Jim’s case at cleveland.com; News 5 Cleveland; and cleveland.com.
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