"Rebuilding the Lives of the Wrongfully Convicted"

Justice Delayed: Lacy Clay Jumps Into George Allen Fray With Attorney General

The congressman asks Attorney General Chris Koster to "no longer stand in the way of justice," and to "allow this innocent man to return to his family."

Clay wrote:

“I am deeply troubled by your decision to appeal Cole County Circuit Judge Daniel Green’s decision to void the convictions of George Allen. As you know, Mr. Allen is a mentally ill black man who was wrongfully convicted in 1982 and has spent the last thirty years incarcerated for crimes of which he is actually innocent.

“I am astonished by your decision to appeal and to ask for a stay of Mr. Allen’s release.”

Allen, of University City, was convicted in 1983 of the rape and murder of Mary Bell in the LaSalle neighborhood in St. Louis. Allen’s attorneys with the Innocence Project and the St. Louis-based Bryan Cave law firm uncovered evidence they said that convinced them of Allen's innocence, despite the man's taped confession. Allen has been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Green overturned the rape and murder conviction on Nov. 2, ruling that Allen did not receive a fair trial. He said police investigators hid or suppressed evidence, including DNA testing and a fingerprint, which may have prevented Allen from being convicted.

City of St. Louis Prosecuting Attorney Jennifer Joyce announced she would not seek to re-try the case.

But Koster's office appealed the decision Thursday. Allen's attorneys said that could mean Allen will spend several more months in prison.

Clay wrote, “I ask that you no longer stand in the way of justice being carried out for this innocent man, and allow George Allen to be returned to his family and his community immediately.”