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Two Key Witnesses Recanted and No Physical Evidence, Now a St. Louis Prosecutor Seeks to Overturn Conviction of Man Sentenced to Life for 1990 Murder Advocates Say He Did Not Commit

A man who was sentenced to life in prison for a murder he didn’t commit might be released soon after spending more than 33 years behind bars.

The St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office filed a motion requesting a Missouri court to dismiss the conviction of 52-year-old Christopher Dunn, who at 18 years old was sentenced to life in prison for the 1990 shooting death of 15-year-old Ricco Rogers.

St. Louis Circuit Court Attorney Kim Gardner has filed a motion seeking to overturn the 1991 murder conviction and life sentence of 52-year-old Christopher Dunn. (ABC News Video Screengrab)

That’s because there was no physical evidence to link Dunn to the teen’s murder, and two key witnesses against Dunn at trial have recanted.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner even wrote in the motion that there is “clear and convincing evidence” that Dunn didn’t commit this crime. That motion goes on to state that the eyewitness testimony of a 15-year-old and 12-year-old that played a major role in Dunn’s conviction had been recanted by the children under oath after they admitted they lied.

Dunn was sentenced to life in prison plus 90 years after a two-day trial in 1991. He was convicted of murdering Rogers, who was shot and killed on May 18, 1990.

Dunn’s mother and sister testified during an appeals process that Dunn was home that night, watching television, and had been on the phone with a friend.

“We are hopeful his wrongful conviction is set aside for the sake of Mr. Dunn, his family, and the people of the city of St. Louis,” the prosecutor’s statement reads.

Texas County Circuit Court Judge William Hickle reviewed Dunn’s case in 2020, according to that same motion. After analyzing the evidence, the judge reportedly stated, “The court does not believe that any jury would now convict Christopher Dunn under these facts.”

Despite the judge’s review, he cannot overturn the conviction unless Dunn was sentenced to death, under Missouri law.

According to Tricia Rojo Bushnell, executive director of the Midwest Innocence Project, to begin the process for the dismissal of Dunn’s sentence, a circuit court needs to hold a hearing on the prosecutor’s motion.

That same process has been used to dismiss the convictions of other wrongfully convicted men thanks to a Missouri law enacted in 2021 that allows prosecutors to seek court hearings in cases where there’s evidence of a wrongful conviction.

Take Lamar Johnson, a man who spent 28 years in prison for a 1994 murder in St. Louis. His conviction was largely driven by eyewitness testimony, but that same eyewitness came forward later to recant his statements after alleging he had been coerced into testifying.

Lamar Johnson was exonerated after spending nearly 30 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit after being sentenced to life for a 1994 killing in At. Louis. (Photo: Fox 2 St. Louis/YouTube)

Johnson faced a life sentence with no possibility of parole before the Innocence Project partnered with the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s office to investigate his case again.

Kevin Strickland was also freed under this same process after spending more than 42 years behind bars for a 1978 triple murder in Kansas City. No physical evidence linked him to the crime. He was 62 by the time he was released. Strickland reportedly suffered the seventh-longest wrongful imprisonment in American history.

Kevin Strickland spent 42 years of a life sentence behind bars for a Kansas City, Missouri, triple murder he did not commit and was sentenced to life. He was exonerated in 2022. (Photo: Mirror Mind/YouTube)
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