Edward Lee Elmore and his escape of Death Row

Today I read an article on CNN detailing the case of Edward Lee Elmore’s conviction.  A now fifty-three year old man from South Carolina, Elmore was convicted of a rape and murder.  He was on death row for thirty years before his lawyers and an investigator Diana Holt proved him innocent.  His case was an example of “innocence is not enough” in some trials.


The rape and murder victim was Dorothy Edwards, a wealthy widow living in Greenwood, South Carolina.  She was found dead and bloody by her neighbor and councilman Jimmy Holloway.  Very quickly Elmore was convicted of he crime based on a thumbprint on Edward’s back doorknob.


Elmore’s lawyers have been working tirelessly to try and prove Elmore’s innocence.  He understands that if he ever stops working or trying in this case, his client will die.  “If I throw in the towel, a client dies.  If I stop working, they stop breathing,”  Holt said, “Sometimes, I am the first person who ever stuck by them or treated them with respect.”


The lawyers see the gaps in evidence in the case and the overwhelming question about Elmore’s true role in the crime.  His lawyers claim, “law enforcement planted evidence and prosecutors manipulated facts to cast Elmore as the only suspect in the 1982 murder of 75-year-old Dorothy Edwards.”


Another investigator that seems Elmore’s case as “innocence not being enough in trial” is Diana Holt.  She has been following the case since 1993 and believes that since Elmore has a history of mental illness that the court is writing him off as guilty without enough evidence.  Her role in the case helped bring Elmore justice and prove his innocence.


Holt was very qualified and proved to be an asset to the case.  She had a rougher childhood involving armed robbery, jail, and abusive relationships.  But she turned her life around when she joined law school at the Southwest Texas State University.  She found that the forensic evidence that the prosecution had over Elmore was unimportant after looking at the other facts and evidence.  This led her to believe Elmore’s innocence and eventually free him from death row.

This case is a perfect example of how there are instances where circumstantial evidence leads to conviction.  Even though Elmore did not convict the crime or have a mass of evidence against him he still took on the guilty role.  This is another case where there isn’t enough time or energy to find the truth, so the easiest option is chosen. 


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