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Woman, Cleared of Matricide, Says|Prosecutors Cooked DNA Evidence

(CN) - A North Carolina woman says she spent 5 years in jail awaiting trial for her life on false charges of killing her mother, and that Greenville Police, the Pitt County District Attorney and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation conspired against her and altered DNA evidence to try to convict her. Leslie Lincoln's federal complaint claims that the lab that tested the evidence "confirmed that a sworn law enforcement officer had altered the DNA tests." She was acquitted in 2007.

In a negligence claim in New Bern, N.C., Federal Court, Lincoln says she lost her job and home when police, citing DNA evidence and anonymous informants, accused her of killing her mother, Arlene Lincoln, who was stabbed to death.

She says the Pitt County District Attorney went ahead with the trial even after independent lab tests verified that the DNA evidence was false.

She adds that "Within two weeks of plaintiff's arrest, [Assistant District Attorney Kimberly] Robb abused the power of her office by announcing she was seeking the death penalty against plaintiff."

Lincoln says Greenville Police detectives tried to "create" jailhouse informants against her, and prosecutors failed to hand over documents.

Investigators "showed current and former inmates crime scene photos, and provided facts about the crime with which the plaintiff was charged. This conduct was intended to contaminate the witnesses by providing the witnesses with inside information to which the witness can testify," according to the 29-page complaint.

Lincoln says that when her own investigator indentified a suspect, a detective "went to interview this suspect and told him that plaintiff's lawyer was trying to pin Arlene Lincoln's murder on him. This permanently damaged any ability to get a confession from this suspect, who had given a known false statement to the police within 24 hours of Arlene Lincoln's murder," the complaint states.

Lincoln sued the City of Greenville Police Department, Pitt County, Joseph M. Simonowich, David R. Best, District Attorney William C. Everett, Kimberly Robb, Brenda Bissett, and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. She seeks damages for negligence, emotional distress, false public statements, conspiracy and constitutional violations.

She is represented by Kathryn Fagan of Manteo, N.C.

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