National coverage continues of DNA testing in the murder for which Ledell Lee was executed.

It’s understandable. It’s now been determined that DNA on two key pieces of evidence, including the murder weapon, were from somebody other than Ledell Lee, as well as fingerprints at the crime scene.


The hope of Lee’s family and his advocates is that the DNA and fingerprints will turn up in a national database and suggest another person was guilty of the beating death of Debra Reese. Lee maintained his innocence until the end of his life.

The news articles also continue to illustrate Arkansas to the country at large through an unrepentant Governor Hutchinson, who signed the death warrant, and a particularly unrepentant Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.


The courts consistently rejected Ledell Lee’s frivolous claims because the evidence demonstrated beyond any shadow of a doubt that he murdered Debra Reese by beating her to death inside her home with a tire thumper,” she said in a statement, adding, “I am prayerful that Debra’s family has had closure following his lawful execution in 2017.”

The Innocence Project’s summary of the case adds further details about the discredited testing used to link Lee to the death and about the failures of his lawyers, including an appellate lawyer with a substance abuse problem.

Lee’s 2017 killing by the state was the first execution in  more than a decade, one of what Hutchinson had hoped to be an eight-person execution orgy in a 10-day span, a plan disrupted by court appeals in some of the cases.