The Innocence Project takes on Pine Belt woman's case - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

The Innocence Project takes on Pine Belt woman's case

COLLINS, MS (WDAM) - After years of trying to clear their daughter's name, Pete and Sheila Stubbs see a light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

The Innocence Project, a national organization that has helped overturn hundreds of wrongful convictions has joined the Stubbs' fight.

Sheila Stubbs said, "I understand now, that just because you are arrested and you are convicted doesn't mean you are necessarily guilty."

That's what the Stubbs have been trying to prove for 10 years in the case of their daughter Leigh, 31, who was convicted of conspiracy to steal morphine and commit grand larceny, as well as possession of morphine and aggravated assault, with the help of testimony from a discredited Hattiesburg Doctor.

Leigh was charged after a trip home from a North Mississippi rehab center with 2 other girls ended up leaving one in the hospital recovering from a drug overdose and sexual assault wounds.

Coxwell said The Innocence Project has worked on at least four cases in Mississippi where they helped clear the names of people wrongfully imprisoned for more than a decade.

"They were proven completely not guilty, 2 or 3 are in Hattiesburg, 2 in North Mississippi," according to Coxwell. "They were completely cleared by DNA. Not all of the cases involve DNA but many of them do, one man was on death row."

In at least one of those cases, the same discredited witness who testified for the state, Dr. Michael West, testified in the Stubbs case as an expert in bite mark identification, wound patterns and video enhancement.

"There are studies by Psychologists and Sociologists all over the country about mistaken identification, because in everyone of the cases where people have been convicted and sent to prison and later cleared by DNA, there was positive eyewitness identification saying that's the person that did it," said Coxwell. "So when they get cleared, what do we know? They were wrong, and what is so disturbing in this case is, you have Dr. West manufacture a vision that he told the jury. He says, you can't really see this but this is what I see."

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