TakePart.com continues publishing stories about the California Innocence Project in support of the Innocence March. This most recent article, titled “Murder Was the Case, and an Innocent Woman Is Paying the Price,” focuses on CIP client Kimberly Long. CIP director Justin Brooks writes about Long’s case and her claim of innocence.
Long was convicted of the 2003 murder of her boyfriend, Ozzy Conde. On the night of the crime, Long, Conde, and their friend Jeff Dills, went out drinking at several bars. At the end of the night, Long and Conde had an argument which resulted in Long going to Dills’ house. Conde went back to the house he shared with Long.
Dills gave Long a ride back to her house at 2:00 a.m. Long found Conde dead with his head bashed in. She immediately called the police. Police noticed that there was blood splatter on the walls of house but Long had not blood on her clothing. However, Dills told the police that he dropped Long off at 1:30 a.m, not 2:00 a.m. Immediately, the police considered Long a suspect. However, Dills died in a motorcycle accident shortly thereafter and could not be questioned further. The prosecution convinced the jury that Long committed the murder and disposed of her bloody clothing before calling 911.
Despite the conviction, there were many doubts raised about Long’s guilt. She was tried twice. The judge and the alternate jurors said they would have voted to acquit. Conde’s body showed signs of lividity – the pooling of blood – that would set in before Long returned to the house. No blood was found on Kim’s clothing and witness statements indicated that did not change the clothes she was wearing earlier in the night. DNA testing on a cigarette but found at the crime scene did not match Long or Conde. Finally, Long passed a polygraph examination administered by law enforcement officials.
Based on the evidence of innocence, Brooks and two other CIP attorneys are walking to Sacramento to ask Governor Brown to grant clemency to Long.