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Murder Conviction Reversed

In Winfrey v. State, the Texas Criminal Appeals Court reversed and rendered an acquittal on the defendant convicted of murder.  The appellant was charged with capital murder, but convicted by a jury of the lesser-included offense of murder and assessed a 75 year sentence.  No evidence linked appellant to the crime except "scent lineup evidence" from Sheriff Pikett's dogs that had been "pre-scented" to the victim's clothing and alerted on appellant's scent.  The Court of Appeals affirmed finding:  1.  Pikett's canine-scent testimony provided direct evidence placing appellant in direct contact with the victim's clothing; 2. the jury could have reasonably concluded that the appellant was in the victim's house at the time of the murder, and that he had significant physical contact with the victim; 3. appellant shared information about the murder with his cellmate that was unknown, even by police; and 4.  appellant identified himself as the "number one suspect" at a time when the police did not consider him a suspect.

The Criminal Appeals Court held that the evidence, even when viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict, merely raises a suspicion of guilt and is legally insufficient to support a murder conviction beyond a reasonable doubt

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