Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Jamie Lee Peterson

First Name Jamie Lee
Last NamePeterson
Year of Conviction1998
Year of Exoneration2014
Testing inculpated culpritNon-Cold Hit
State of ConvictionMichigan
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaTrial
Type of CrimeMurder
Death SentenceNo
Life / LWOP sentenceLife without parole
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeWhite
Mentally Ill or Intellectually DisabledIntellectually Disabled
Types of evidence at trial
  • Confession
  • DNA excluded
  • Forensic Evidence
Were non-public facts alleged?Yes
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • DNA
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • Valid
Examples of Non-Public or Corroborated Facts and Inconsistencies

● Took $30 from victim’s billfold and a small candle in a glass jar ● Victim had kitchen knife drawer that was open, with knives including butcher knife ● Ransacked house, with lamps knocked over, hangers knocked down in laundry room ● Victim locked in trunk of her car, while alive, rags placed under victim’s head in truck of car ● Victim’s bra taken off and ripped ● Victim hit in head several times, consistent with autopsy ● Victim sexually assaulted, vaginally and orally ● Victim’s left arm scratched ● The time of the murder. BUT as the audio taped portions of the interrogation showed, many of these facts were told to him by the officers in leading questions during the interrogations. A second perpetrator was not mentioned in the first interrogation, but only later after police received DNA test results excluding the defendant. When facts were volunteered, many were incorrect, such as that the sexual assault did not occur in the bedroom as he had stated.

Quotes from law enforcement testimony

Q. Officer, did you did you take your participation in this investigation seriously? A. Very seriously. Q. Did you at any time you were questioning any suspect in this case make available any of the case facts, the underlying, undisclosed case facts, to any suspect that you questioned in this case? A. Absolutely not. Q. Did you at any time you were alone with the Defendant make available to him undisclosed case facts? A. Again, absolutely not. Q. At any time when you were with Officer Somers in the presence of the Defendant, did you or he make available to the Defendant case facts that had been undisclosed? A. No, we did not. We never disclosed actual injuries that we knew about. We just let him tell us. Did you go over all of these things with the Defendant in the oral interviews before you taped ’em? Not on all of ’em, no. Q. Okay. A. We didn’t go over the case facts, if that’s what you’re getting at.

Quotes from prosecution arguments

“Consider the impossibility of anybody knowing what he knew then.” “No information was ever given about any other injuries that may have been sustained. There was never any information given about any entry into the home or where any of these events occurred." "How would he know that money came from the billfold? Most people, if you asked where was your money, they’d say — I’d say, in my wife’s purse." "He knew the knife drawer was open. The knife drawer was open. You think about that. How would you know?” “He knew there were rags under her head in the the truck… Who would possibly ever think to say something like that? No one would.” ”He described both oral and vaginal sex in the course of his descriptions. Funny, that’s what the evidence shows as well." "And the most astonishing of all of these revelations we when he, out of the blue, talkin’ about him and Leland scratchin’ her arm. Not just any arm; her left arm. The one with her watch on it… Who would know that?" “He knew there was a electric garage door opener in the garage. Fair thing to guess at? I suppose. But he was right. He knew about the thirty dollars from the wallet.”

Interrogation RecordedAudio recording of part of interrogation and written and signed statement
Highest level reachedNR