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DNA Clears Convicted Murderer, Points At 2nd Suspect

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Robert Dewey (credit: Colorado Dept. of Corrections)

Robert Dewey (credit: Colorado Dept. of Corrections)

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Investigator Brian Maass

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (CBS4) – CBS4 has learned that a man convicted and imprisoned for a 1994 murder and rape on the Western Slope will likely be released next week after DNA evidence showed he was innocent.

Robert Dewey, 51, was arrested in 1994 and convicted by a jury in the rape and murder of a 19-year-old Palisade woman, Jacie Taylor.

Authorities have scheduled a Monday news conference in Grand Junction to announce they will ask that Dewey’s murder and rape convictions be dismissed. It will be up to a Judge to rule on the motion. The blockbuster move comes after new DNA testing indicated Dewey was wrongly accused.

“He is very serene, peaceful,” said attorney Stephen Laiche who visited Dewey in the Mesa County jail Friday afternoon.

Laiche defended Dewey on the 1994 rape and murder charge.

“I was surprised at how mellow the guy is. He holds no grudges,” said Laiche.

Dewey always maintained his innocence in the murder, telling a Judge “There’s still a killer out there,” as he was sentenced in 1995. He was sentenced to life without parole, according to state records.

Jacie Taylor was found dead in 1994 inside her Palisade apartment. She had been strangled with a dog leash, beaten and sexually assaulted.

“We always believed him from the beginning, said Stephen Laiche, who represented Dewey during his murder trial. “This was a pretty horrific crime. It offended sensibilities and they had to convict someone.”

“They wanted to hang somebody,” said Laiche, who said the trial lasted six weeks. “This was the freakiest, craziest trial. It was a panopoly of misfortune,” said Laiche.

CBS4 has also learned as authorities move to exonerate Dewey, they have now identified and have in custody another man who they believe to be the correct suspect in the Taylor murder.

doug thames DNA Clears Convicted Murderer, Points At 2nd Suspect

Douglas Thames (credit: mugshots.com)

Multiple defense sources have told CBS4 recent DNA testing has identified the man as 39 year old Douglas Thames, who is currently in prison in Colorado serving a life sentence for the murder of Susan Doll in Fort Collins.

Doll had been raped and strangled and was murdered in August of 1989. But police did not arrest Thames until 1995, well after Jacie Taylor was found dead. In the Doll case, DNA linked Thames to the murder.

Stephen Laiche says Dewey’s mother is planning to travel to Grand Junction for Monday’s anticipated release.

- Written by Brian Maass for CBSDenver.com

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