Former Clifton high school principal found guilty of a 1985 murder paroled

Posted at 9:57 AM, Mar 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 11:00:26-04

Joe Bryan, the former Clifton High School principal found guilty of a 1985 murder, was approved for parole today.

Bryan is serving a 99-year-sentence for killing his wife, Mickey, 33 years ago.

During a hearing to overturn his conviction in 2018, the defense brought two experts who said an expert, who testified on key forensic evidence during the two trials for Bryan 30 years ago, was not qualified to take the stand.

With the testimonies of police and former Clifton residents, the defense tried to prove that a former Clifton police officer, who is now deceased, committed the crime. He was suspected of murdering a young girl in June of 1985.

Investigators who also took the stand said there were no signs of forced entry at the Clifton home where the murder occurred on Oct. 15, 1985.

They added that a flashlight with blood spatter was found in the trunk of Bryan's car. The object also had blue and green specks that matched the shell casings used to kill Mickey, according to investigators.

Police said Bryan became a suspect when he told police he found a substantial amount of money that he previously reported missing. However, police said during previous days officers had already searched the box he referenced and didn't find anything.

A group of Bryan’s supporters wearing “Justice for Joe” shirts were present in the 220th District Courtroom in 2018. They appeared again and filled up the front row.