Innocence Project says fight will continue to test DNA with possible St. Louis tie

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ST. LOUIS – The Innocence Project says it will keep pressing for a DNA test that could provide answers about notorious St. Louis murder suspect Thomas Bruce.

A Tennessee judge denied the request for the test despite reported questions from St. Louis-area authorities. They want to know if suspected Catholic Supply Store killer Thomas Bruce might be tied to another murder.

Fox 2 News spoke one-on-one by phone with Innocence Project attorney Barry Scheck about how we might still find out.

“It’s only because of this information that we got from people close to law enforcement authorities in St. Louis that we went back to see if the evidence was still there and, lo and behold, it was,” he said.

Scheck’s referring to DNA connected to the 1985 murder of 19-year-old Marine Lance Corporal Suzanne Collins.

A Tennessee judge ruled the DNA must remain untested.

We asked Scheck if St. Louis area authorities could still test it.

“I would very much hope that that could happen,” he said. “It didn’t seem necessary for that to occur because I honestly believed that we have the better of the argument.”

Scheck believed the public would get answers quicker if he asked on behalf of his Innocence Project clients – the family of Sedley Alley. But because Alley was executed for the murder in 2006, the Tennessee courts claim no one has a right to test the DNA.

Someone’s already been executed for the crime.

“We just want to know the truth and I think there are a lot of people in Tennessee who simply don’t want to know the truth that can include the execution of an innocent man,” Scheck said. “That’s not something they want to deal with.”

Fox 2 reached out to the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office to ask why government lawyers won’t just allow the test to discover the truth. We explained that people in St. Louis want to know more about the possible Thomas Bruce connection. A spokesperson would only say “it is pending litigation” and that they “cannot comment.”

We’ll stay on top of the search for truth that the Innocence Project now fears is years away.

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