BSU Professor Works To Free Innocent Prisoners

BSU Professor Works To Free Innocent Prisoners
It's happened again. D-N-A has exonerated a Chicago man for a crime he never committed. A Boise State University professor has played a big role in the use of D-N-A to free people behind bars.

Jerry Miller is now free, after spending 25 years in prison for rape. This week his ankle bracelet was taken off, thanks to science and a group called "The Innocence Project".

D-N-A evidence cleared Miller all these years later.

"It's a real triumph," said Greg Hampikian, Ph.D, The Innocence Project.

And this BSU professor has been there for those "triumphs." Greg Hampikian heads the Idaho Innocence Project, a group that's helped free 200 people through D-N-A evidence. In fact, Hampikian's own work helped free a Georgia man this January.

"We're very excited because they are happening so much faster now. I think that's because the prosecutors in many cases are just as happy to work with us and find the real culprit," said Hampikian.

And it only takes a small cell sample to get the DNA. You just rub the inside of your cheek with a swab. Then a D-N-A fingerprint is extracted from those cells and compared to evidence found at a crime scene.

"You profile what you find at the scene with a suspects. If it matches all 13 of those markers, then the chances are astronomical," said a BSU lab student.

Hampikian says D-N-A can not only free innocent people, but today this lab work can prevent the wrong person from being convicted in the first place.

"It's kind of like if you had a bad batch of spinach you wouldn't just give antibiotics to the one kid who got sick. You would find out which bags were affected and try to change the program, make sure nobody gets hurt again," said Hampikian. For more information you can visit www.idahoinnocenceproject.org