During a press conference today, the Elkhart County Sheriff Brad Rogers said a detective’s testimony that was instrumental in winning a murder conviction in 2005, made an error that could result in a new trial.
Detective Dennis Chapman admitted to making a mistake in identifying a fingerprint as one belonging to the suspect in the case.
“This department has core values of integrity and fairness and Detective Chapman admitted to his error openly in court and to my office on his own initiative,” said Rogers during the conference.
Chapman’s testimony in the initial trial of Lana Canan for the 2002 murder of Helen Sailor, according to a press release issued Friday by Elkhart County Prosecuting Attorney Curtis T. Hill Jr., is now considered no longer credible.
“As it is reasonable to believe that the jury relied upon Detective Chapman’s testimony in considering the evidence against her, it is clearly in the best interest of justice that the murder conviction against Lana Canen be vacated as we continue to reevaluate the evidence and Canen’s role in the murder of Helen Sailor,” said Hill in the release.
Hill’s office is involved in a motion to overturn the the conviction.
Sandra Brinson, Canen’s mother, told WSBT-TV news, “We’re all just praying and hoping for the very best. We’ve known from the very beginning that my daughter was innocent and we stand by that.”
Chapman is a 19-year veteran of and is still employed by the ECSD. Sheriff Rogers said the detective was disciplined but refused to expound.