MT. VERNON –– Prosecutors cannot introduce new evidence of earlier crimes allegedly committed by a man charged with first-degree murder, an appeals court ruled.
In the Aug. 31 opinion, the Fifth District Appellate Court affirmed a decision by now retired judge Randall Kelley of St. Clair County Circuit Court to disallow a filing containing statements from a woman who claimed Thomas Brown beat and sexually assaulted her.
Brown is accused of beating and killing Lenear McKissick in East St. Louis on Jan. 1, 2016.
In a June 2017 filing, prosecutors alleged "evidence of other sex crimes" that would show the defendant's "propensity" to commit such offenses, even though there was no DNA evidence of a sexual attack on the murder victim.
The earlier allegations were made by a woman, identified as V.L in court documents, who claimed she was previously beaten and sexually assaulted by Brown. Prosecutors argued it was not a legal requirement to identify the allegations in the charging document.
However, Justice James Moore questioned V.L.'s credibility, pointing to a lack of police investigation or report about V.L.'s allegations.
"We agree with the defendant that ... when taken as a whole, the multiple potential problems with V.L.’s credibility provide support for the circuit court’s ruling in this case," Moore wrote.
"The people’s intent to introduce other crime evidence would be more prejudicial than probative as there is no evidence of injury to victim of a sexual nature or penetration or DNA," he wrote.