Another DNA Match
Different case. One of those innocence projects
refuses to believe a rapist and a killer guilty, even after the DNA evidence proves it beyond a reasonable doubt.Each came to believe in Coleman's innocence. And each worked hard to help him prove his case. Between them, McCloskey and Behan made more than a dozen trips to Grundy, the coal-mining town in southwest Virginia where the murder took place, interviewing dozens of people. They concluded that Coleman had been framed by police and prosecutors, defended by incompetent lawyers and condemned to death by a small-town jury bent upon vengeance. They pushed for a new blood test of the evidence, and when the test implicated Coleman as the killer, they sought to discredit their own expert. And they accused a local man of being the "real killer," a claim they stuck with even after they learned of information indicating he had the wrong blood type.
When their efforts to get a stay of execution failed, they conducted a high-profile media campaign to compel then-Gov. L. Douglas Wilder to commute, or at least delay, the sentence. In the weeks before Coleman was put to death, his picture was on the cover of Time magazine ("This Man Might Be Innocent. This Man Is Due to Die"). He was interviewed from death row on "Larry King Live," the "Today" show, "Primetime Live," "Good Morning America" and "The Phil Donahue Show."