UC Law Students Try to Prove Jailed Man Innocent

Three University of Cincinnati Law Students are trying to prove a man's innocence.  Chris Bennett has been in jail for more than a year after he plead guilty to vehicular homocide.  In May of 2001, Bennett and his friend Ron Young were in a car accident.  Young died, Bennett spent three days in Intensive Care for head injuries.  Bennett also suffered from amnesia.  Not being able to remember what happened, he plea-bargained to get nine years in prison as opposed to 20 or 30 years.  Authorities at the scene said Bennett was the driver based on where his body and Young's was located at the scene.  They also had an eye witness say he saw Bennett in the driver's seat.

But as Bennett's memory came back, he says he remebers being in the passenger's seat and that his head hit the windshield.

Ohio Innocence Project took up his case.  They located the van in a junkyard, and conducted DNA evidence.  Blood found on rocks and a paper towel on the passenger side, as well as hair found on the passenger's side, matched Bennett's DNA.  They also found another witness, who was first on the scene, to confirm Bennett was on the passenger side.  Medical experts and accident reconstructionists also explained that Young's fatal chest injuries were from an airbag.  The only airbag deployed was on the driver's side.  They also said Bennett's head injury was caused by hitting the windshield.  The van's front windshield was only broken on the passenger's side.

The Ohio Innocence Project filed a brief in Stark County Court of Common Pleas on Wednesday.  They are hoping the judge will reverse Bennett's conviction based on the new evidence.