New fingerprint technology may free Nebraska inmate


By MARGERY A. BECK

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A man convicted of a 1988 double killing in western Nebraska is seeking to reopen the case by using new technology to identify fingerprints left at the crime scene, even as a new documentary series nearing completion calls into question his guilt.

Jeff Boppre, who is serving two life sentences, has maintained for three decades that he was framed for the killings of Richard Valdez and his pregnant girlfriend, Sharon Condon, in a Scottsbluff home. The Nebraska judicial system has upheld his 1989 conviction numerous times.

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But a renewed effort by Boppre’s lawyers — coupled with a documentary reminiscent of the popular 2015 Netflix series “Making a Murderer” that explored a Wisconsin case — promise to bring fresh attention to Boppre’s conviction.

Producer Douglas Thornton with Middle West Studios said work began nearly a decade ago on what was intended to be a 90-minute documentary. It has ballooned into a series of seven to nine episodes set to wrap up late this year. The piece is being licensed to a TV network, though Thornton wouldn’t say which one.

The work was never intended to prove Boppre’s innocence, Thornton said, but it’s clear he believes Boppre has been wrongfully convicted.

“The evidence does not — and never will — line up to Jeff Boppre,” he said.

On Thursday, lawyers for Boppre, 55, and the Nebraska attorney general’s office made arguments for and against analyzing fingerprints found at the crime scene — that did not match Boppre or the victims — using the new technology.

Latent fingerprint technology developed since Boppre’s 1989 trial can make matches from low-quality fingerprints or even a single finger. Previously, investigators typically needed …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World

      

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