DNA evidence exonerates California man who spent 14 years in prison for murder

by Bryan Brammer · Feb 14th, 2020 1:25 pm

A California man who spent 14 years in prison for a false murder conviction was exonerated on Thursday after prosecutors discovered new DNA evidence that led to a new suspect.

In 2005, Ricky Davis, 54, was convicted of second-degree murder in the 1985 fatal stabbing of his roommate, Jane Hylton. The case went unsolved for 14 years due to a lack of evidence, before it was reopened in 1999.

At the time of the crime, Davis and his girlfriend Connie Dahl were living with Hylton and her 13-year-old daughter. Upon returning from a party around 3:30 am on July 7, 1985, Davis and Dahl found Hylton's daughter waiting outside the house. Hylton's daughter said she had been out with some boys that night and was afraid to return home because of her mother's reaction.

The three entered the home together and found Hylton's dead body on a bed.

Although all three maintained their innocence, Dahl later changed her story to the police and implicated Davis as the killer, as well as herself, saying she had bitten Hylton during the attack, according to the Northern California Innocence Project.

However, new DNA evidence revealed that the male DNA profile found on Hylton's nightgown in the area of the bite mark matched the DNA found under Hylton's fingernail. Neither profiles matched the DNA of Davis, but did match the DNA of one of the boys with Hylton's daughter that night.

The new suspect in Hylton's murder was arrested in Roseville, California, but was not identified since he was a juvenile at the time of the murder.


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