After Years Behind Bars, Robert Dewey is Free
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- In 1994 a young woman's life was taken from her. Jacie Taylor was brutally beaten, raped and left to die in her bathtub. In October 1996, Robert Dewey was convicted of the crime and sentenced to life in prison without parole. "It's been a long time, and a lot of prayers for the family," said Donna Westin, Dewey's mother. Since that day Dewey has maintained his innocence. Westin also said, "That's not my son. He would never do anything like that." The DNA testing at the time showed that blood tested from a shirt Dewey was wearing around the time of the murder was consistent with both his and Taylor's blood. However, the analyst in court at the time predicted that the sample was consistent with 45 percent of the population. More so than hard evidence, the case rested largely on Dewey's suspicious actions during the investigation. Rich Tuttle, the Mesa County assistant district attorney who prosecuted the case in 1996, said, "Looking back on the case I wouldn't have done anything differently based on the information we had back in 1996." Attorney Danyel Joffe took over Dewey's case, and has been working on it for the last 11 years. Joffe said, "So I recruited The Innocence Project and later the attorney general's office because they had access to resources I didn't have on Mr. Dewey's behalf." Julie Selsberg, an attorney on the project funded by the National Institute of Justice, said, "It took several months for us to do the investigation. Larry Atkinson and I had to get caught up to speed, review all the trial transcripts, meet with Mr. Dewey, make sure the evidence still existed ... and was in a condition for DNA testing." Not only did all rounds of DNA testing exclude Dewey as the suspect, they uncovered who the DNA did match. It matched Douglas Thames, who is already serving a life sentence for the murder of another woman. Dewey's stepfather, Jim Westin, said, "We got a call last week that there was a possibility of this happening, we made a beeline here because we wanted to be with our son." Now, all that's left is to look forward to the future. Donna Westin said, "He's never even used a computer, he's going to have to learn!" Although it took 18 years, justice has finally been served for Robert Dewey.