Attorney's for Jeff Boppre say missing curtain is key evidence t - kotanow.com- Scottsbluff Area News, Sports, and Weather

Attorney's for Jeff Boppre say missing curtain is key evidence that could exonerate their client

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Attorneys for a man convicted of a 1988 double murder in Scottsbluff have filed a motion to compel to search for a missing curtain that could serve as evidence to free their client.

Lawrence Whelan and Bryce Benjet are the attorneys for Jeff Boppre. Boppre has argued for years that he was framed for the Scottsbluff killings of Richard Valdez and his pregnant girlfriend, Sharon Condon. The Nebraska Supreme Court has upheld his conviction multiple times.

Court documents filed by Whelan  say a curtain from the crime scene has a reddish brown splatter and a white substance needs to be tested for DNA. However, the item has gone missing from the Scotts Bluff County Sheriff's Office.

The attorneys say in 2005, an order was entered to allow for DNA testing to conducted on various items of evidence, including the missing curtain. That curtain was never tested because it could not be located.

In February, Boppre's defense team was accompanied by a court reporter for a brief search for the curtain at the Scotts Bluff County Courthouse. They were unable to find the curtain.

In March, the state filed a report with the court that contained the affidavit of Lt. Rick Spencer that detailed a historical account of the prior search for the curtain in 2005. It says in 2000, he saw the curtain lying on top of the [Valdez] door in Evidence Room #5. However, the curtain was supposed to have been sealed in a brown evidence bag, and had to have been subsequently tampered with 5 years after it was sealed. It also detailed that the Scotts Bluff County Sheriff's Office moved evidence from the Jail Annex building to the Scotts Bluff County Administration Building in 2003.

On April 2, 2014 the court granted successive DNA testing on the missing curtain, among other items of the evidence.
In Whelan's motion, he asks for the court to allow his counsel access to all areas where the Scotts Bluff County Sheriff's Office has stored evidence since 1988 in order to conduct a thorough search for the missing curtain at a time mutually agreed by the state and the defense.
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