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Witness: Wrong man imprisoned for 25 years

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., March 13 (UPI) — An expert witness testified that shoddy work by investigators in Florida left an innocent, mentally challenged teenager in prison for more than 25 years.

Melvin Tucker told a federal court jury in Fort Lauderdale that people with mental challenges may confess to crimes they didn’t commit, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.

Tucker, a former police chief and law enforcement instructor, was on the witness stand in a civil lawsuit filed on behalf of Anthony Caravella.

Caravella, now 44 years old, was freed from prison in September 2009 after DNA testing exonerated him in the 1983 rape and murder of a Miramar, Fla. woman.

His lawyers are seeking unspecified damages and compensation for his time in prison.

Tucker told jurors Tuesday that there were several problems with the police investigation. They included failing to pursue more likely suspects, not writing complete reports and contaminating evidence.

He termed the effort “shoddy, incomplete (and) not an objective investigation.”

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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