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Robert Dewey, wrongly convicted of murder, to receive $1.2 million compensation?

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Dewey's attorney, Randy Brown, disputed this conclusion, suggesting that DNA evidence had been tainted by mishandling, and hinted at evidence pointing at Cynthia Mallow, described by the Sentinel as a "self-professed lesbian," and an unknown man. For instance, Brown said Cynthia and Jacie had argued over the ownership of a ring in the days before the latter's death -- and that very same ring was found on Taylor's dead body, just below her navel. Brown also maintained that Cynthia had requested that her brother provide her with an alibi for the night of the murder.

Efforts by Brown to undermine the credibility of the DNA evidence, which one expert said could have come from a whopping 45 percent of the population, continued throughout the trial -- and that's not all. The Post noted Brown's claims about a bar of soap with a fingerprint on it that was found in Taylor's vagina during her autopsy. But at some point after the soap was designated evidence, the fingerprint disappeared.

Meanwhile, prosecutors portrayed Dewey as dangerous and drug-addled. For instance, Mesa County Chief District Judge Charles Buss allowed testimony that the suspect had been tweaked on meth the day before Taylor was killed.

After the jury returned with a first-degree murder conviction, Buss let Dewey have it. The Sentinel quoted him as saying, "I think this is a just sentence for you. You engaged in a few moments of pleasure with Miss Taylor and it cost her her life. It will haunt her parents and family for the rest of their lives." In regard to his sentence of life without the possibility of parole, Buss said, "I am happy to impose it on you."

For his part, Dewey never stopped proclaiming his innocence -- at one point, he told the judge, "There's still a killer out there" -- and promptly appealed his conviction. Among his claims: The jury foreman knew two of the witnesses who testified against him but didn't mention it to anyone.

What's changed in the decade-plus that followed? The answer can be found in the arrest warrant for Thames, on view below in its entirety. Here's an excerpt:

CBI agent and forensic scientist Yvonne Woods processed the submitted evidence items for serology and DNA profiles in the fall of 2011. In a December 20, 2011 report, Ms. Woods reported that the male DNA profile on the blanket did not match Robert Dewey. The male DNA profile, however, matched a profile from the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). CODIS is a computer software program that operates local, state, and national databases of DNA profiles from convicted offenders, unsolved crime scene evidence, and missing persons. Such a match is known in law enforcement circles as a CODIS hit. The matched profile belongs to Douglas Thames.
Turns out Thames's DNA was on file because he was already a resident of the Colorado prison system, due to his conviction in the 1989 murder of Fort Collins' Susan Doll.

Continue for more about the Robert Dewey case and compensation for wrongful conviction, including photos, video and an original document.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts