Lynn DeJac Peters spent over thirteen years behind bars for a crime she didn’t commit; a crime, according to her attorneys, in which key pieces of evidence were either intentionally ignored or missed, which then led to a cover-up by Erie County’s top prosecutors as well as the city’s homicide squad detectives.
In February 1993, DeJac Peter’s thirteen-year-old daughter, Crystallyn Girad, was found murdered in her bed. DeJac Peters was accused and convicted of second-degree murder in the death of her daughter based largely upon the testimony of her boyfriend at the time, Dennis P. Donohue, who was granted immunity in exchange for testifying against her and has now been identified as the girl’s murderer.
In this miscarriage of justice, DeJac Peter’s attorneys cite many pieces of evidence that were overlooked in the murder case, which included the following:
- Donohue allegedly received a pass as a suspect because he worked at a bar owned by a police officer, Tommy Duebell. Donohue also happened to be a brother-in-law of the Duebell family at the time.
- DNA from a vaginal swab containing sperm from the teenager was never tested.
- The position of Crystallyn’s body and cuts on her body matched that of two other slain women.
DeJac Peter’s attorneys point out the wrongful imprisonment of their client most undoubtedly would have been avoided if all of the evidence in the murder case had been reviewed.
DeJac Peters was freed from prison in 2007 when a cold case squad detective from Buffalo uncovered the DNA evidence that linked the murder to Donohue.
Earlier this month, DeJac Peters reached a settlement with the state of New York and was awarded $2.7 million for her wrongful conviction in the murder of her daughter.