After 22 years on death row, Paul House has now been cleared of murder charges with Tennessee state prosecutors asking for all charges to be dropped against him. He had been sentenced to die in 1986 and his case is already being used by opponents of the death penalty as an example why states should move to life without parole as the ultimate punishment in this country.
House would have been executed next month but will now be freed.
He was convicted in the 1985 murder of Carolyn Muncey, but there were a great number of problems in the trial and the evidence.
Muncey disappeared of Luttrell, Tennessee was dead after being badly beaten and raped. House was a friend of Muncey’s husband. Police found discrepancies in his alibi and noted that he had unexplained cuts and bruises. Most importantly, they submitted evidence that Muncey’s blood had been found on his jeans. It was later discovered that those samples were contaminated and unreliable. Moreover, later DNA found it was her husband’s semen found on the body. Blood under her fingernails and cigarette butts also did not match House.
In 2006, in House v. Bell, 547 U.S. 518 (2006), the Supreme Court ruled that he was entitled to a new trial with Justice Kennedy saying that the evidence could point to a different individual.
There is great speculation that Muncey was actually killed by her husband, here.