A St. Louis man who served 29 years of a 95-year prison sentence for a brutal 1982 slaying is officially a free man after a three-member state appeals court panel upheld a lower court’s decision that led to his release from prison last month.
George Allen, 56, was convicted in 1983 of raping and killing 31-year-old Mary Bell in her St. Louis apartment. Prosecutors used a confession Allen gave to make their case, but Allen’s defense contended the confession by their client, who suffers from schizophrenia, was coerced.
Cole County Circuit Judge Daniel Green issued a scathing, 75-page ruling last month that suggested St. Louis police ignored and suppressed numerous pieces of evidence, including blood tests that ruled out Allen as the source of semen on Bell’s robe.
Green ordered Allen’s release, and the St. Louis circuit attorney’s office complied Nov. 14. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster appealed the ruling, arguing that the lower court had abused its discretion by ruling that investigators violated Allen’s due-process rights by failing to provide evidence.
Questions about undisclosed evidence were raised by attorneys working for and with the Innocence Project, a New York group that has helped free hundreds of wrongfully convicted inmates nationwide.
Allen’s first trial ended in a hung jury. He was convicted in a second trial in 1983 and sentenced to 95 years.