Washington Man Exonerated Of Killing His Mother After 15 Years

| by Daniel Rivera
Donovan Allen.Donovan Allen.

DNA evidence exonerated a Washington man 15 years after being imprisoned for killing his mother.

Donovan Allen, now 33, was 18 years old when he was arrested for allegedly strangling and bludgeoning his mother, Sharon Cox, to death in 2000, according to the Daily Mail.

Allen confessed to the crime after a 14-hour interrogation by police. He later recanted, but was convicted of aggravated first-degree murder and was sentenced to life without parole.

He walked out of Clallam Bay Corrections Center in Washington on Dec. 3 as a free man.

"It feels surreal," Allen said in a statement by lawyers from the Innocence Project, an nonprofit organization dedicating to exonerating individuals through DNA testing.

Allen's lawyer, and director of the Innocence Project, Anna Tolin celebrated the case's outcome.

'I've been meeting with Donovan at this prison for the past four years, and I am truly humbled to share this moment when Donovan can begin to rebuild his life after all he has endured," Tolin said.

The organization requested Allen receive a new DNA test earlier in 2015, arguing the technology has become more sensitive than what it was 15 years ago.

Prosecutors dismissed Allen's case without prejudice, which could result in charges rising again if additional evidence incriminates him.

Ryan Jurvakainen, Cowlitz County prosecutor, described the decision to drop the charge against Allen as the "right thing to do."

Investigators said the results of the test linked the crime to Allen's nephew, 42-year-old Brian Del Kitts. He was arrested on Nov. 25 on suspicion of first-degree murder of his aunt, according to Longview Daily News.

Kitts was initially a person of interest during the original investigation, but there was insufficient evidence to charge him.

He pleaded not guilty on Dec. 1.

According the Innocence Project's website, the organization has helped exonerate 300 people since it was founded in 1992.

Sources: Daily Mail, Longview Daily News, Innocence Project / Photo credit: KING 5