New Evidence of Convicted Client’s Innocence Leads to a New Trial in Todd Circuit Court
Norman Graham was convicted in 2008 for the 1980 murder of his girlfriend. At his first trial in 1986, the jury could not reach a verdict and Graham was released from custody. Two decades later, cold case detectives revived his case and Graham was tried again. This time he was convicted and sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Attorneys with the Kentucky Innocence Project (KIP), Amy Staples and Melanie Foote Hollingsworth, have been representing Mr. Graham for more than half a decade. Initially, they got DNA testing to try to show Graham’s innocence, but the court found the results of that testing to be inconclusive. Later, KIP investigator Jimmer Dudley was able to secure statements from several individuals who were in the same trailer park on the evening of the murder. These witnesses gave sworn statements that their brother – now convicted of another murder under similar circumstances – was the real killer. They claimed they knew what he was doing on the night of the offense, but did not come forward because they were terrified of their brother and their mother, who protected him.
After much litigation, the court held hearings in April and June to consider the new evidence. On October 5, Special Judge Easton entered an order granting a new trial. This is an amazing accomplishment, and a testament to the value of persistence and never giving up when you know you and your client are right. Congratulations to Jimmer, Melanie and Amy! And congratulations to KIP, which now has five exonerations since 2014.
(Submitted by Tim Arnold, Post-Trial Division Director)