JEFFERSON CITY - A Missouri judge has thrown out the rape and murder convictions of a St. Louis-area man imprisoned since 1983.
Cole County Circuit Judge Dan Green on Friday ordered 56-year-old George Allen Jr. released from prison within 10 days unless the St. Louis circuit attorney decides to retry him. That office was closed Friday night.
Allen, a diagnosed schizophrenic serving a 95-year sentence, was accused of raping and killing 31-year-old Mary Bell after breaking into her St. Louis home. The crime occurred about 10 miles from Allen's University City home during a historic snowstorm on Feb. 4, 1982.
Lawyers with The Innocence Project took up Allen's case in 2010, arguing police coached Allen into confessing. They also said new lab tests plus forensic evidence not shared with the defense cleared Allen.