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Reported by April Taylor
David Bryant, who served 38 years in prison for the 1975 rape and murder of eight-year-old Karen Smith, may soon be headed back to prison. Bryant was originally arrested at the age of 18 after Smith’s body was found in the stairwell of an apartment building. She had been rαped, beαten and stαbbed. In April 2013, Bryant was released after a Bronx judge ruled that he had received an unfair trial due to his defense being flawed. Bryant’s attorney had failed to consult with a blood and semen-testing expert. His blood type was found to not match the semen that was found at the scene where Smith was killed.
A state appellate court has now overturned the decision that allowed Bryant to become a free man. The New York Daily News is reporting that Bronx district attorney’s office prosecutors are demanding that Bronx Supreme Court Justice Seth Marvin reinstate Bryant’s conviction.
The controversy over whether or not Bryant’s conviction should remain overturned centers on whether or not Bryant’s type B blood could have mixed with the victim’s type O blood. Prosecutors believe that this mixture of body fluids could be why the semen sample did not match Bryant’s type B blood. Bryant’s attorney Paul Casteleiro is arguing that this mixture was unlikely due to the victim’s age. Casteleiro is also arguing that Bryant’s original attorney, Paul Auerbach, still failed to provide an adequate defense by not challenging the testimony of the serologist.
Justice Seth Marvin states, “His failure to have the defendant’s blood type determined or consult with a serologist was not part of a legitimate strategy; it was the result of neglect and ignorance.” However, judges who are appealing the ruling state, “Although there was a lack of physical evidence connecting (Bryant) to the crime, his guilt was established on the basis of his voluntary statements to the police, the testimony of several witnesses placing him near the scene of the crime and evidence indicating consciousness of guilt.”
The case is headed back to court on Tuesday. Bryant could be thrown back in jail while the second appeal is decided. However, Bryant’s attorney states, “David remains confident that his innocence will be recognized.”