Man convicted of murder based on bite mark evidence now free from jail

Fifty-nine-year-old former construction worker Steven Mark Chaney was released from jail at the Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas, Texas on Monday, October 12 after serving more than 25 years in prison for a murder conviction back in 1987. However, Chaney is not yet fully exonerated of murder. He still has to undergo another trial in order for the formal exoneration to happen.

Back in 1987, Chaney was convicted of the murder of John and Sally Sweek based on the testimony of dentist Jim Hales, who told the jury that there was a “1 to a million” chance that a person other than Chaney could have left the bite marks that were found on John Sweek’s arm. Prosecutors alleged that Chaney murdered the drug dealing couple in order to avoid paying a substantial debt.

Since the conviction, Hales has stated that the science used to make that conclusion regarding the bite marks has changed, invalidating his testimony. The Dallas District Attorney’s Office then concluded that the bite mark evidence was erroneous.

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