Death row inmate has evidence proving innocence - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Death row inmate has evidence proving innocence

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

Twenty-years after a brutal murder, the case is back in the headlines. That's because the man on death row says new evidence proves he is innocent.

Billy Kuenzel is in prison waiting to die for the 1987 murder of convenience store clerk Linda Jean Offord in Sylacauga.

It's not so much that the evidence itself is new; its evidence defense lawyer's claim was never released during Kuenzel's trial, evidence that could have caused the jury to come back with a different verdict.

Kuenzel's attorney, David Kochman, says there is no evidence or witness leaking his client to the murder scene, but there are several witnesses jurors never heard from that link Kuenzel's roommate to the scene. In addition they say the roommate had the victim's blood on his pants, and they've now uncovered that that same roommate had a 16 gauge shotgun in his possession. The same type of shotgun used in the murder.

Kochman also says he didn't have the representation he needed for a capital murder case. "His attorney thought he had a slam dunk acquittal.

He looked at the evidence against Billy which was the testimony of Harvey Venn. This is a man who was seen at the murder scene, by we now know ten witnesses, who did not see Billy with him.

This is a man who lied repeatedly to police, telling them multiple stories, even when he gave a quote on quote confession implicating Billy, still telling them lies which he had to correct later. This is a man who has the victim's blood on his clothes and cannot explain how it got there," said Kochman.

The roommate, Harvey Venn admits to being at the convenience store the night of the shooting, but claims it was Kuenzel who killed the clerk.

Venn struck a deal with a state to testify against Kuenzel. He's not out of prison. Kochman says Kuenzel was offered the same deal twice, but turned it down. He said he was innocent.

On Monday the case went before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. The defense is arguing for a right to argue that Kuenzel should get a new trial.

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