Arizona Innocence Project Research at NAU May Help Clear a Convicted Man’s Name

 

Thanks to research by the Arizona Innocence Project at Northern Arizona University (NAU), a Prescott man has a chance to clear his name after spending nine years in prison for a crime he says he didn’t commit.

Nineteen years ago, a Prescott teen was fatally shot in the head. It happened near the home of Jay Krause, who was out in his yard near his chicken coop looking for animals that had been killing his eight-year-old son’s chickens. An accidental discharge of the weapon led to Krause being convicted of manslaughter.

Now, a judge has granted Krause an evidentiary hearing. It could call into question the evidence in the case, which could vacate his guilty verdict.

The Arizona Innocence Project, a team of undergraduate and graduate NAU students who investigate inmates’ claims of wrongful conviction, took a closer look at each piece of the evidence and discounted it, including 

  • Composite Bullet Lead Analysis, a forensic technique now discredited by the FBI and
  • The angle of the bullet Krause was supposed to have fired from his rifle. The Innocence Project concluded there was no possible way it could have come from Krause’s location. He would have had to be suspended mid-air.

Krause said he knows in his heart that he did not kill the teen. He has already served his prison sentence, but Krause still wants his name cleared—not for him, but for his son.

“Freedom, that’s a rough thing to lose," Krause said. "A lot of people don’t understand that.”

--Adapted from articles by Mary Tomasch and Steve Irvin, www.abc15.com