St. Louis Public Radio News
9:37 am
Mon June 9, 2003

Prosecutor Wants DNA Tests on Death Row Inmate

Jefferson City, MO – The attorney for an inmate who's about to go free says he's not happy about a move that could complicate his client's release.

Cole County Prosecutor Bill Tackett wants DNA tests that he says could determine whether he'll retry Joseph Amrine. The Missouri Supreme Court recently ordered Amrine free after overturning his conviction and death sentence.

The tests could take 90 days to collect, but Amrine is scheduled to be released in about a week.

Tackett claims in a court motion that DNA testing suggests human blood is present on the clothes worn by Joseph Amrine at the time of a 1985 prison murder. Gary "Fox" Barber was killed at the old state penitentiary in Jefferson City. Three witnesses who testified against Amrine recanted their stories. There had been no physical evidence against Amrine.

Amrine's lawyer says he suspects evidence tampering. Attorney Sean O'Brien says he has been told the shirt contained no traces of blood. Amrine is scheduled to be released next Monday.