CALDWELL, Idaho (KBOI) - It was a brutal crime that shocked the nation. Linda LeBrane, from Washington, was beaten, stabbed, and had her throat slashed while driving through Canyon County on her way to Bear Lake. Remarkably, she survived.
That was back in 2000. Afterward four people were sent to prison in connection to the crime. One of them is Sarah Pearce, who appeared again in a Canyon County courtroom on Tuesday.
Pearce now may not have to serve the full amount of time she was originally given. On Tuesday, she was offered a deal by the state of Idaho.
Canyon County Prosecuting Attorney Bryan Taylor sent out a statement saying this new deal has nothing to do with Sarah Pearce's guilt. She was tried and found guilty by a jury in 2003.
But when KBOI spoke with her family and some of her legal counsel, they told us they feel the new offer is the result of years of their fighting to try and prove her innocence.
Nothing is set in stone yet, but attorneys said in the courtroom they're confident they'll soon come to a resolution.
The Idaho Innocence Project and Pearce's family have been working since 2007 to convince the court she was falsely convicted.
"We think it was a case of mistaken identity pure and simple, with tragic consequences," said Greg Hampikian, Director of the Idaho Innocence Project.
Hampikian says his team has researched Pearce's case and argues her innocence because there are some inconsistencies in it. Court records show Linda LeBrane was under the influence of marijuana at the time of the attack and mistakenly identified several different people. Hampikian also says a number of witnesses changed their testimonies during the case in ways that should clear Pearce.
Lawyers won't give any detail as to what the deal offers Pearce. But Anita Brown, Pearce's mother, says she's relieved, because she believes it will allow her daughter to get out of at least some of her sentencing.
"I've fought a battle for 12 years. My daughter was in life imprisonment," Brown said. "But this afternoon, there is a possible resolution to this. So tonight when I go home, I'm going to sleep better than I have in twelve years."