Family of man executed in 2006 to ask Shelby County judge to order DNA testing of evidence in case

Published: Oct. 11, 2019 at 5:58 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Monday, the daughter of Sedley Alley and lawyers from the Innocence Project will present their case to a Shelby County judge, asking for DNA testing on decades-old evidence they feel could exonerate Alley of murder.

Sedley Alley was executed in 2006 after he was found guilty of the murder of a 19-year-old Marine in Millington.

Five months ago, April Alley, and lawyers of the Innocence Project announced in Nashville their push for DNA testing in Sedley Alley’s case.

“It’s very overwhelming,” said his daughter April, “I feel like I’m being pulled in a thousand different directions.”

Sedley Alley was put to death by lethal injection in 2006, found guilty in the brutal 1985 rape and murder of 19-year-old Lance Corporal Suzanne Marie Collins in Millington. Alley confessed to the crime but lawyers for the Innocence Project said they believe the confession was false.

Attorneys tried to halt his execution by asking for DNA testing on key pieces of evidence, including underwear found at the scene, but Tennessee courts did not grant the request. Alley was put to death.

The Innocence Project said the Tennessee Supreme Court clarified in a ruling 5 years later that post-conviction DNA testing giving a defendant a way to prove innocence should be allowed.

April Alley was present when her father was executed in 2006. She said he told her he was coerced into confessing, was drunk the night of the murder, and had no recollection of committing the crime.

“Watching our father die was so painful that I’m hoping that I can get the answer one way or another that I want,” April Alley said through tears.

Attorneys for the Innocence Project said they believe a St. Louis man indicted for homicide and rape could be a serial offender responsible for the murder, not Sedley Alley.

All parties will be in court Monday morning, when the hearing is on the docket for 9:30 a.m. Court officials anticipate it lasting roughly an hour.

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