A Waco judge recommended to the Criminal Court of Appeals that four men convicted in a 1992 murder are innocent based on a lack of DNA testing.
Richard Bryan Kussmaul and three other men were found guilty of murdering 17-year-old Leslie Murphy and her 14-year-old friend Steven Neighbors.
Kussmaul had been helping pick up the teenagers for a friend. Kussmaul, James Pitts Jr., Michael Dewayne Shelton, and James Long admitted to sexually assaulting Murphy before shooting her and Neighbors.
DNA testing in 1994 could not tie the four men to the crime and new testing was approved in 2012.
Waco Judge George Allen recommended that the men were innocent and were not given a fair trial based on a lack of DNA testing available at the time of the murder.
In a statement from McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna, “...the families of Leslie Murphy and Steven Neighbors are disappointed with Judge Allen’s recommendations to the Court of Criminal Appeals.”
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