Missouri Guard Member's Murder Conviction Overturned
By: CJ Cassidy
By: CJ Cassidy
POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. - Laura Wynn's gruesome murder left a lot of people shaken when it happened back in 1992.
Then 13 years later, investigators arrested Sam Freeman, a member of the Missouri National Guard.
Last fall, a jury convicted Freeman in Wynn's killing, but just last week an appellate court overturned that conviction.
Freeman's attorney says he expects the Attorney General's office to request a rehearing before the Southern District and also ask the Missouri Supreme Court to take the case. If it doesn't, Freeman's free to go and that could happen in the next 60 days.
In the meantime, Freeman's family says they never gave up hope and now they're ready to see him come back home.
"I was ecstatic. In shock. So thankful justice finally came about," Ann Cornett said. She and her sister Pam Deluna say they never doubted their younger brother, especially when the gruesome details about Laura Wynn's death came out in court.
"It's not my brother. The way they portrayed him. It wasn't him. If you knew him, he could never be cruel," Cornett said.
Police say the 31--year-old's killer went beyond cruel.
Her mother found her partially nude body in her apartment. She had been sexually assaulted and strangled with a stocking.
Investigators say DNA taken from the crime scene pointed to Freeman, but the same DNA would eventually help him in the appeals process.
"The DNA evidence was robust, miniscule, and couldn't be picked up with a microscope. It's easily transferred directly and indirectly," Freeman's attorney Steve Walsh said. He also argued his client wasn't the only possible suspect.
Wynn had been at a pool hall the night she died and argued with Freeman, but Walsh says consider this.
"Every item of evidence had at least three people's DNA on it. Possibly up to five people," he said.
Wynn's aunt, Carol Helton says it doesn't seem likely she'll get the closure she's still hoping for. She says she always felt bad for Freeman's family, but she also hopes no one forgets Wynn's case.
In the meantime, Ann Cornett has a message for Carol Helton, Laura Wynn's aunt.
"I don't believe anyone deserved to die the way her niece did. I believe there's still a killer out there, but it's not my brother," Cornett said.
Freeman's sisters say their brother just wants to come home and move on with his life.