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Thursday, February 3, 2011

No retrial for Curtis Vance

Posted By on Thu, Feb 3, 2011 at 2:58 PM

There'll probably be no retrial of Curtis Vance, Anne Pressly's killer, on a charge that he raped a former Marianna school teacher. A jury couldn't reach a verdict in the case yesterday. The former teacher doesn't want to endure another trial. When seven jurors won't accept powerful DNA evidence that Vance's sperm was found in a rape examination and on the victim's bathrobe — buttressed by a confession to Little Rock police that he later disavowed — you can see that the prosecution faced an uphill climb.

The jury split 7-5 for acquittal. It's not known which jurors favored acquittal, but the jury was split racially 7-5, with blacks in the majority. Vance's attorney, Bill James, told Fox 16 yesterday that it was possible the racial composition of the jury played a role in the outcome. Vance, a native of the area, is black. The victim, who'd moved to Marianna as part of the Teach for America program, is white.

Prosecutor Fletcher Long said the victim had told him following the verdict she didn't intend to return to Marianna to testify again. "I told her I'd leave the decision to her, but if she changed her mind in the next few days to let me know." He said he doubted she'd return. He added:

"Nothing like getting raped in your house and having it happen to you again."

UPDATE: Fox 16's David Goins talked with Kristen Edwards, the rape victim, about her experience.

"When it comes right down to it, I'm no longer willing to put my family or myself through the emotional or financial turmoil of returning for another trial or potentially multiple other trials that would most likely have the same outcome as the one we received the other day," Edwards says.

Vance is serving a life sentence, though he's appealing that conviction in Pressly's slaying. He denied raping Edwards and said he couldn't explain the apparent presence of his DNA. His attorney generally raised questions about the validity of DNA evidence.

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