Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

February 13, 2013

Post-conviction DNA bill moves on to House

FRANKFORT — Melinda Elkins Dawson’s mother was murdered and her 6-year-old niece brutally raped in 1998 in Canton, Ohio.

If that wasn’t horror enough, police investigators eventually arrested her husband at the time, Clarence Elkins, who was convicted and sent to prison, primarily because of the niece’s statement that the man “looked like Uncle Clarence.”

Melinda Elkins wasn’t convinced.

She spent several years trying to determine who might have committed the crime when one day she saw a story in the local newspaper about a man arrested for a similar crime. The story indicated the man had once lived next door to Melinda’s mother.

She recalled that her niece had somehow after the attack managed to drag herself to the neighbor’s house seeking help but no one answered the door.

The man whose arrest Melinda discovered in the newspaper was eventually convicted for the later crime and imprisoned in the same facility with Clarence Elkins. She convinced her husband to befriend the man and then later to retrieve a cigarette butt the man had smoked.

DNA evidence on the cigarette eventually confirmed the second man had murdered Melinda’s mother and raped her niece.

Ohio didn’t have a law at the time allowing convicted felons to prove their innocence through DNA testing, but Melinda persuaded “a compassionate judge” to hear the evidence and re-open his case over the objections of prosecutors.

Eventually Clarence Elkins was cleared and set free. Melinda, who has since remarried, said he’s fine but lost two years of his life for something he didn’t do.

That is why she was in Frankfort Wednesday – to testify on behalf of a post-conviction DNA testing bill sponsored by Rep. Johnny Bell, D-Glasgow. The bill, which Bell has sponsored in the three previous legislative sessions, sailed out of the Judiciary Committee.

Text Only
Local News
  • Local counties see drop in unemployment

    Boyd County was one of 117 counties that saw a decrease in its unemployment rate between June 2013 and June 2014.
     

    July 27, 2014

  • 0726bigboy.JPG Big Boy to open Aug. 11

    The long-awaited Frisch’s Big Boy restaurant will open Aug. 11, and when it does it will be business as usual from day one: the eatery will open its doors to the early breakfast crowd at 6:30.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • SOAR meeting at MSU Aug. 6

    Morehead State University and St. Claire Regional Medical Center will present Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers as part of a "Health Impact Series" under the new Shaping Our Appalachian Region initiative.
     

    July 27, 2014

  • MSU moving business admin. program online

    Morehead State University’s School of Business Administration has announced its bachelor of business administration degree in computer information systems has moved totally online beginning the fall 2014 semester.
     

    July 27, 2014

  • Thefts, fraud reported to APD

    The following information was taken from Ashland Police Department reports:
     

    July 27, 2014

  • Raceland couple join Peace Corps

    A couple from Raceland will travel to the Republic of Botswana on Aug. 10 to begin training as volunteers in the Peace Corps.

    July 27, 2014

  • Missing Boyd inmate returns to jail

    The Boyd County inmate who walked away from a work detail on Saturday turned himself back in to the Boyd County Detention Center on Sunday.

    July 27, 2014

  • 0728MoreheadMusic_1457.jpg Hills alive with Old Time Music

    The hills surrounding Morehead were alive again this weekend with the sounds of fiddles, banjos and deep Appalachian voices that help keep old time mountain music alive in a modern world.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bill Clinton coming to eastern Kentucky to stump for Grimes

    By RONNIE ELLIS
    CNHI News Service

    GLASGOW — Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is again calling in the “Big Dog” in her quest to unseat five-term Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.

    July 27, 2014

  • Tim Preston: Veterans, doughnuts, hog legs and jerky of squid: 7/27/14

    Are there any talented wreath makers reading this column?

    July 27, 2014