Target 8: Man Convicted of Levee Failure in \'93 Maintains Innocence

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JEFFERSON CITY - The man convicted of sabotaging the West Quincy levee in the great flood of 1993 still maintains his innocence. In an exclusive interview with KOMU twenty years after the flood, James Scott said he still hopes for his freedom. 

"I've written to probably 200 innocence projects, news media, newspapers, from coast to coast, North to South," Scott said. 

Scott is serving a life sentence in the Jefferson City Correctional Center for intentionally causing a catastrophe. He's the only person in the state to ever be convicted of that offense. 

University of Missouri Soil Science Professor David Hammer testified for the defense in Scott's trial in 1998. Hammer said it would be nearly impossible for Scott to successfully do what he was charged with without drowning.

"I don't know how you impose justice now given that he's spent  a good portion of life in jail for something that in my estimation he couldn't have done," Hammer said. "But he should in my estimation be set free."  

Scott has to wait until 2023 to go before he can go before the parole board. But after doctors diagnosed him with Hodgkin's Lymphoma earlier this year, time to argue his freedom may be running out. 

"Like my mom says all the time, 'It's not your time that he'll take care of this, it's on his time,'" Scott said.