Case involving brutal attack on Linda LeBrane to be reopened



Posted on June 26, 2009 at 1:18 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 14 at 2:24 PM

New DNA evidence could prove innocence

CALDWELL -- A guilty verdict six years ago put a Canyon County woman behind bars for an attack along Interstate 84.

But now there's speculation that new evidence could set Sarah Pearce free.

Canyon County Prosecutor John Bujak plans to reopen the case involving Sarah Pearce because of possible DNA evidence.

Pearce is serving 15 years in prison after she was convicted of aiding and abetting attempted murder in the 2000 attack on Linda LeBrane.

Canyon County detectives are looking into the possibility of new DNA evidence following a tip from an inmate.

The Idaho Innocence Project, which has long stood behind Pearce's constant claims of being not guilty, says they believe they finally have the evidence to prove it.

"I truly believe that Sarah Pearce is innocent, I truly believe for her that she is innocent," said Ginny Hatch a graduate student working with the Idaho Innocence Project.

Officers say Pearce, along with three men, forced LeBrane off I-84, beat her, cut her throat and set her car on fire.

In 2003, Pearce was found guilty and ordered to serve 15 years in prison.

Pearce and her family maintain she is innocent, but a jury found her guilty and the Idaho Supreme Court upheld the verdict.

For the past couple of years the Idaho Innocence Project has been working on the case.

Volunteers say there are inconsistencies in the documents and with claims of DNA. The Boise State forensic lab is working to prove her innocence through science.

"We do take a skeptical eye to the cases as they come through and this case has really come through and her case has passed every level including leads that will leave to a good conclusion to this case," said Dr. Greg Hampikian, Boise State biology professor.