Philadelphia

Jury Finds Philadelphia Man Not Guilty in Rape-Murder Retrial

A jury on Tuesday found a man not guilty in his retrial in the rape and murder of a 77-year-old woman a quarter-century ago, after DNA evidence pointed to another man.

Anthony Wright was sentenced to life without parole in the October 1991 slaying of his neighbor Louise Talley, whose nude body was found face-down on a bedroom floor in her North Philadelphia home. Talley had been raped and then stabbed 10 times in the neck, chest and back with a kitchen knife.

Jurors spent less than two hours deliberating Tuesday before returning with the not guilty verdict.

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The district attorney's office agreed to a new trial in 2014 at the request of Wright's defense team, led by the Innocence Project, after DNA tests showed that sperm found inside Talley's body belonged to a former Philadelphia-area crack addict who died in a South Carolina prison.

The testing also showed that only Talley's genetic material was inside clothing that homicide detectives alleged Wright told them he wore and that was found inside his bedroom in his mother's house.

Defense lawyer Samuel Silver, in his closing argument on Monday, called on the jury to acquit Wright, asking of the DNA testing: "What better evidence could there be?"

Assistant District Attorney Bridget Kirn argued that the DNA evidence proved only that Wright didn't commit the crime alone, not that he is innocent, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Wright, who's 44 years old, took the witness stand on Friday and again denied he had anything to do with the crime or had ever confessed.

Wright, who was 20 at the time of the crime, told police after his arrest that he robbed Talley because he needed money for drugs and that she begged for her life before he killed her. He later recanted, saying his confession was coerced.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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