The Wisconsin Innocence Project believes that the DNA tests may exonerate Jeffrey Denny, who is currently serving a life sentence for the death of Christopher Mohr.  On January 26, 1982, Christopher Mohr was found dead in an upstairs bedroom of his Grafton home.  He had been stabbed 52 times, his throat slashed, and he had been beaten, most likely with a broken bong found nearby.  The University of Wisconsin Law group would like the shattered marijuana bong, bloody clothing, and hair found at the scene to be tested for DNA.  They would like Judge Joseph Voiland to also order that the results be run against the state and federal criminal databases.

After a 9 day trial in November of 1982, a jury found brothers Jeffrey, 17, and Kent Denny, 19, guilty of first-degree murder.  Judge Warren Grady sentenced the teens to life in prison.  Both appealed their cases, but were rejected repeatedly.  Kent Denny died in prison.  Jeffrey, now 50, is being held at a minimum-security prison.  Evidence has never been tested for DNA.

“Because of the violent nature of the crime, it is likely that the true perpetrator left DNA at the crime scene during the attack,” according to the motion filed by Steven Grunder of the Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office, Lindsey Smith, an attorney with the Wisconsin Innocence Project, and several University of Wisconsin Law School students, “DNA testing of the evidence collected from the crime scene and admitted at trial could support Jeffrey’s claim of actual innocence.”

The jury was never presented any physical evidence instead the case entirely hinged on witnesses who said that the brothers bragged about the murder.  The star witness wasn’t just any witness, it was Trent Denny, Jeffrey and Kent’s brother.  He had just been released from prison when he alleged his brothers told him they killed Mohr.  Another woman said that Kent said he killed Mohr at a party where drugs and alcohol were being consumed.  Two other women said Kent confessed at a bar.

The only physical evidence presented was Jeffrey Denny’s shoe, which the prosecution attempted to say matched a bloody shoe print at the scene.

“This weak comparison of a shoe recovered months after the victim’s death was the only physical evidence the state presented to provide a link between the victim’s death and Kent and Jeffrey,” according to the motion seeking DNA testing, “The remaining evidence the state relied upon consisted of witnesses who claimed they heard Kent and Jeffrey confess to the murder.  The state conceded in its opening statement that one or two of the witnesses to the alleged statements were going to be granted immunity…”

District Attorney Adam Gerol is opposing the evidence testing.  The judge is expected to rule on the request sometime after September 10th.

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Comments
  1. Renae Carlson says:

    what if this were your son who was locked in a cage for 33 years? the only right choice is to test the evidence because the truth is always in the evidence and never in here say .

    Like

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