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Mexico's High Court Overturns Murder Conviction Of Man Jailed For 23 Years

Mexico's Supreme Court has overturned the 1992 murder conviction of a dual citizen of Mexico and the U.S. who authorities now say was found guilty based entirely on a confession derived from torture.

Alfonso Martin del Campo Dodd has been in a Mexican prison for 23 years after the brutal stabbing deaths of his sister and brother in law. He was sentenced to 50 years.

But Mexico's Supreme Court has ruled 4-1 that he should be freed "in light of the proof that torture was used to obtain his confession in the two crimes, without there being any other incriminatory evidence."

The court said police tortured Martin del Campo Dodd into confessing to the killings using a plastic bag placed over his head. The court cited administrative proceedings later filed against one of the officers who interrogated him.

According to The Associated Press:

"The couple were stabbed to death in their Mexico City home. Martin del Campo Dodd was at the home and said two masked assailants kidnapped him and stuffed him into the trunk of a car, which they later abandoned.

"He signed a confession to the killings, but later claimed he did it under torture. He was sentenced to 50 years behind bars for the murder."

During a long-fought legal battle, supporters of Martin del Campo Dodd argued his innocence, citing serious error during the investigation, including hair and skin found under the victims' nails that did not match the DNA of the defendant.

"They also said that there had been irregularities in the way the investigation had been carried out, such as the fact that the victims' clothes and bed linen had been burned the same day of the crime 'for hygienic purposes,'" the BBC says.

The AP says:

"Lawyers for the dead couple's now-grown daughters criticized Wednesday's ruling, saying it was a blow to victims' rights.

"'This is an offense to the victims,' said Samuel Gonzalez, a former top anti-drug prosecutor who has helped defend victims' rights. "'The victims did not get justice.'"

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
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