Woman convicted in LeBrane attack asking for new trial

Woman convicted in LeBrane attack asking for new trial

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by Jamie Grey

Bio | Email | Follow: @KTVBJamieGrey

KTVB.COM

Posted on March 10, 2013 at 10:44 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 24 at 5:36 PM

BOISE -- More than a decade after Linda LeBrane was brutally attacked and left for dead along Interstate 84, one of the convicted suspects could be retried because of new evidence claims.

Sarah Pearce was convicted of six felonies in 2003, including aiding and abetting the attempted murder of LeBrane. A judge is deciding whether claims by Pearce's attorneys should be evaluated for a new trial.

The Idaho Innocence Project says new evidence and witnesses will prove Pearce wasn't involved.

"We hope that Sarah gets her day in court very soon," said Dr. Greg Hampikian, of the Idaho Innocence Project. "That a jury of her peers gets to see the new evidence in this case and that she gets a fair chance at proving that she's innocent, and I think she'll prevail."

On Friday, the state asked a Canyon County judge to dismiss the new claims that the wrong woman is sitting in prison.

Pearce was convicted of helping three others kidnap, beat and stab LeBrane nearly to death along the interstate near Caldwell.

LeBrane said Pearce was the ringleader of the group and ordered the others to kill her.

Hampikian says new evidence and witnesses will prove that Pearce had nothing to do with the attack.

"As we researched it, it became very clear to us that there was a problem with Sarah's conviction, so we've spent 7 years working on the case now, and we're fully convinced that Sarah Pearce is innocent," said Hampikian.

Pearce's attorneys claim that photo and in-person line-ups of suspects during the investigation were skewed.

"Ms. LeBrane had picked out another person in a different line up and was very adamant that that was the person that had done it, but yet, the subsequent line-ups excluded that person and focused exclusively on Sarah," said attorney Scott Fouser.

But LeBrane and prosecutors were sure during trial that Pearce was guilty.

Even today, LeBrane tells KTVB she's one-hundred percent sure it was Pearce.

Court filings reveal some of the plans and witnesses Pearce's attorneys plan to use to fight for a new trial if given the opportunity this summer, including the idea that the Idaho Innocence Project says they have the real attacker.

"We do have an alternate suspect that we've developed evidence for," said Hampikian. "That will all be presented before the court when there's a chance."

If the judge decides to hear some of the claims, that will happen in June and the judge would then decide if a new trial should happen.
 

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