innocence blog

A Web log for the Innocence Institute of Point Park University

Thursday, December 29, 2005

A Wife's Faith Never Waivers--An Innocent Man Is Free

It took seven years of tireless work by his wife, Melinda Elkins, a private investigator and volunteers at the Ohio Innocence Project, but Clarence Elkins is finally free after being exonerated through DNA evidence.

Clarence Elkins was convicted of raping and murdering Melinda’s mother, as well as raping his six-year-old niece. Melinda never believed that her husband committed the horrific crimes. Her suspicions came to rest upon Earl Mann, a convicted rapist who lived near Melinda’s mother.

Mann was in the same prison as Elkins, who had been convicted of the rape and molestation of three little girls. At his wife’s urging, Elkins watched Mann closely and seized Mann’s discarded cigarette in a clean plastic bag. After being hidden in Elkin’s bible for ten days, he mailed the cigarette to Attorney General Jim Petro.

Petro sent the butt for D.N.A. testing, and the evidence implicated Mann in the murder and rapes of Melinda’s mother and Elkin’s niece.

Eventually, due to political pressure from Petro, this evidence caused prosecutors to investigate Mann.

“I knew from day one that justice would be served,” said Clarence Elkins, “I did not know when. My wife is a very courageous and strong person. She never gave up. I give her a lot of credit.”

“I really feel my mom is at rest,” said Melinda Elkins.

Click here for the whole story originally published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, written by Karen Farkas and Ted Wendling.

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