Missouri judge overturns 1982 murder conviction of George Allen Jr.

8:38 PM, Nov 3, 2012   |    comments
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(KSDK) -- A Missouri judge tossed out the conviction of George Allen Jr., the man believed to have murdered court reporter Mary Bell in 1982. St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce has until November 12 to decide if she'll re-file charges.

Mary Bell's body was found in her Soulard apartment during the blizzard of 1982. She'd been raped, stabbed, and her throat was slit.

George Allen Jr. was arrested and later convicted of the crimes.

"The whole city was paralyzed by the storm...and he was here," says his mother Lonzetta Taylor. "So I'm wondering how they thought he could get from University City to south St. Louis and the whole city was paralyzed. He'd have to be Superman and fly there."

Taylor recalls an exchange with the arresting officer.

"After the trial I said you all know that he's innocent. And he told me one thing I will never forget. He said 'yeah but if he didn't do that, he did something.' And I said why don't you arrest him for the something he did."

The Innocence Project took the case. Ameer Gado and Dan Harvath with Bryan Cave LLP in St. Louis have fought it for five years. They took it to a Circuit Court judge in Cole County. The judge's opinion came down Friday evening. In it, he says: "...the undisclosed evidence would have given the defense affirmative proof - foreign semen and fingerprints that could not have come from Allen - that someone else raped and killed Ms. Bell."

"What we believe happened, and what the evidence has shown is the police were vigorously pursuing another suspect and Mr. Allen essentially fell into their laps," says Dan Harvath.

And in a 2011 interview, Mary Bell's friend Tom Liese, said time proved that confessions like Allen's aren't always true.

"I've always had this lingering...and i've heard some things over the years too, doubt of if they really got the right guy," Liese said.

Now St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce has to decide if she'll re-file charges. Lonzetta Taylor is already planning for her son's release.

"By the time we go pick him up and I do all this kissing and hugging and crying, it's going to be great."

We called the Circuit Attorney's Office and a spokesperson sent us this statement:

"With its release late in the day on Friday, we have not had the opportunity to review the Judge's opinion or consult with the Attorney General's Office. Once we have thoughtfully reviewed the 75-page opinion and discussed our options, we will make a decision on the next steps regarding this case. Our goal in this and every case is to ensure we seek justice under the laws of the State of Missouri, given the facts and information available to us."













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