Family of man executed in Millington murder argues DNA could clear his name

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — New evidence revealed in court Monday morning raises hope for some that it clears the name of a man who was executed for a murder more than a decade ago.

Sedley Alley was convicted of savagely assaulting and killing U.S. Marine Corps trainee Suzanne Collins in July of 1985 at the Naval Air Station in Millington.

Alley’s family filed numerous appeals over 19 years, before he was was eventually executed in 2006.

While the technology wasn’t mainstream at the time of the murder, Alley’s defense team was denied state-funded DNA testing before his execution.

Earlier this year, his daughter April began pushing for DNA results, which could be found on the victim’s clothing.

Monday morning, the state and defense argued about the potential testing.

“The rule that denied us testing 13 years ago in this courtroom was wrong," family attorney Barry Scheck. "It was wrong. It was an incorrect interpretation of the act.”

Steve Jones with the Shelby County District Attorney's office, said Alley's estate is not entitled to testing.

"It is not required by the constitution to provide a defendant with a right to post-conviction DNA testing. But the legislature has. And they said it belongs to a person that has been convicted and sentenced. The estate is not that person,” he said.

Nothing will bring back Suzanne Collins or even Sedley Alley but, the defense argues, DNA testing could clear Alley’s name and also help law enforcement definitively arrest a guilty party.”

"If we’re gonna have a real, true justice system, we have to use the materials and procedures available to us, and dna is certainly one that can find the facts and the truth that we all should need and care about and search for,” Ray Krone said.

After hearing both sides make their case, Judge Paula Skahan announced she will have a ruling prepared on Nov. 18.

"It is clear that if we don’t get a DNA test in this case, it’s wrong. It is fundamentally unfair. He was entitled to that test," Sheck said.

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