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Inmate Convicted In 1990 Killing Hopes DNA Evidence Will Free Him

Prosecutors acknowledge the evidence was weak, and they doubted from the start that the accused man was guilty.

Raleigh, NC -- A man serving a life sentence for the 1990 killing of a waitress in Manteo hopes an old washcloth will bring him freedom. Clifton Eugene Spencer says he was pressured to plead "no contest" to a murder he did not commit by a lawyer who convinced him that he couldn't get a fair trial. But even prosecutors acknowledge that the evidence against Spencer was weak, and that they doubted from the start that he was guilty. Last year, Spencer's new lawyer got prosecutors to agree to do tests on the washcloth, which the killer used to clean up after murdering Stacey Stanton. It was the last piece of evidence from which any usable material could be retrieved. The test results failed to implicate another suspect in the case. Spencer says he's pinning his hopes on the national database, though he'll have to wait months for those results to come back.