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George Allen Jr. released after more than 30 years in prison

10:50 AM, Nov 14, 2012   |    comments
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Video: George Allen Jr. freed in court appearance Wednesday

Video: Sharon Stevens talks about murder victim Mary Bell

George Allen, Jr. congratulated after the judge signed the condition of release.

Jefferson City, Mo (KSDK) - A St. Louis man is free after serving more than 30 years in prison for a rape and murder he did not commit.

Cole County Judge Daniel Green signed the condition of release for George Allen Jr. Wednesday morning.

The same judge vacated Allen's 1983 conviction earlier this month, citing DNA and other evidence that called the conviction into question.

When the judge announced he was signing the papers, applause broke out in the courtroom.

Lonzetta Taylor, George Allen Jr.'s mother, said she was "overjoyed" to see her son released.

"We're just going to take one day at a time and enjoy the moment," she said.

The judge explained to Allen that he will not be the final judge to look at the case. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster appealed the court's ruling overturning the conviction. The judge said the appeals court in Kansas City and possibly the Missouri Supreme Court may review the case.

Missouri Deputy Attorney General Joe Dandurand said the AG's Office could file an appeal Thursday.  Dandurand released the following statement:

"The trial judge is the first and only person to have found Mr. Allen to have been prejudiced during his trial. Numerous judges and courts have affirmed Mr. Allen's convictions in the years following the jury's verdict.

"The appellate process provides a system of checks and balances on our state's trial court decisions. The criticisms of this office by those representing Mr. Allen are a bit perplexing. We are confident that, had the Court ruled against Mr. Allen, Mr. Allen's attorney and the Innocence Project would have availed themselves of the same appeals process. We believe the facts and circumstances of the case and the trial court's findings should be examined by the appellate court as part of the normal safeguarding process. We will defer to the Western District Court of Appeals' decision in this matter, and if the court determines the judge's ruling is correct, we will not pursue further action."

Allen was accused of killing Mary Bell.  Her body was found inside her home on February 4, 1982.  She'd been raped, stabbed and her throat was slit.

KSDK

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