Convictions aren't always final. Oxygen's new show, Final Appeal (premiering Sunday, Jan 7 at 7/6c), features exonerated football star Brian Banks and former prosecutor Loni Coombs as they examine wrongful convictions from those currently behind bars. From new evidence to renewed publicity, there's many reasons why convictions may be changed. Here are 5 current convictions looking to be overturned.
"This is a Global Tel Link prepaid call from Adnan Syed." Millions of fans tuned into the first season of the podcast Serial to hear the story of a 15-year-old murder case. In 2000, Adnan Syed was convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee. The story of high school love and murder captivated audiences. The podcast revisted old evidence and showed that the trial seemed unfairly set against Syed, including an unheard alibi, suspicious state's witness and inaccurate cellphone records. Since the show, Syed's conviction was vacated and his legal team filed a motion seeking his release prior to a new trial. The State of Maryland opposed.
He is currently incarcerated until the new trial.
Brock Turner sparked national outrage when he was given a light sentence for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman while attending Stanford University. He received a six-month jail sentence, of which he only served three months. Turner was found guilty of assault with intent to rape an intoxicated woman, sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object and sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object in March, 2016. Upon release, his lawyers want a new trial because they feel he didn't get a fair trial.
Some convictions feature crimes from literally decades ago. 85-year-old John Feit is appealing his verdict for killing his parishioner Irene Garza in 1960. The former priest was sentenced to life in prison for physically and sexually assaulting the woman before suffocating her. Prosecutors said that the Catholic Church covered up Feit's crime, as well as past instances where he attacked women, to save its own reputation.
Rurik Jutting was sentenced to life in prison for killing two young Indonesian prostitutes in 2014. The British banker is now appealing his conviction for killing Seneng Mujiasih and Sumarti Ningsih in Hong Kong. During his trial, jurors saw graphic iPhone videos shot by Jutting, showcasing himself torturing Ningsih and doing cocaine. He eventually slashed her throat and stuffed her into a suitcase. He later slashed Mujiasih's throat too. His defense team claimed that he was under diminished mental capacity at the time due to alcohol and drug use and his sexual disorders.
Phillip Anthony Ward
Phillip Anthony Ward was convicted of killing of a fast-food restaurant manager three decades ago. 53-year-old Ward was convicted of the beating death of 23-year-old Carol Casto in 1987. She was beaten with a concrete block at the Wendy's restaurant they both worked at. He had appealed his life sentence previously but that was ultimately overturned by the high court in West Virginia. In his latest appeal, Ward says that he had ineffective counsel and experienced prosecutorial misconduct.
[Photo: Getty Images, Stanford Dept of Public Safety, Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, Personal photo, WV Department of Corrections]