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Box of evidence found in decades-old murder case as attorneys hope to exonerate man

By Ross Ketschke

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    MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (WMUR) — A box of evidence has been found in a decades-old New Hampshire murder case, and lawyers for a man imprisoned in the killing are hoping it will help prove his innocence.

Jason Carroll was convicted in connection with the 1988 killing of Sharon Johnson in Bedford.

Carroll’s attorneys said they have been asking for evidence in the case for years, but until a few weeks ago, it seemed that no one knew where it was.

According to court records, the box of evidence was found inside the old headquarters of the New Hampshire Department of Justice, which is being gutted.

Carroll’s lawyers said they don’t know exactly what’s inside the box, but they have learned it contains a knife and clothing that might have blood stains.

The defense team has argued that Carroll’s confession was false, coerced during an intense interrogation that involved his mother, a Bedford police officer.

Lawyers with the New England Innocence Project are now working to get physical evidence from the case DNA tested and said the latest batch of evidence could be the key to prove that Carroll was wrongfully convicted.

“Certainly, we’re interested in DNA testing anything that can help shed some light on who the actual perpetrator of this crime was,” said Cynthia Mousseau, of the New England Innocence Project. “That’s owed to Jason for sitting in prison for 35 years for a crime he didn’t commit and to Sharon Johnson’s family for not knowing who committed this crime against their loved one for 35 years.”

Last year, a judge declined to release Carroll early, a decision that was supported by Johnson’s family.

He will be eligible for parole in 2029, but his attorneys hope that DNA testing could lead to him being released from prison much sooner.

A judge has ordered the attorney general’s office to complete an inventory of all evidence in the case.

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