The attorney for an Escondido man accused of killing his sister more than 14 years ago is now asking a judge to declare his client "factually innocent" of that crime.
Stephanie Crowe was found stabbed to death in her bedroom in January, 1998.
Stephanie's brother, Michael, and two of his then-teenage friends, were initially charged with Stephanie's murder and did confess to the crime.
But those charges were soon dropped, when a judge ruled the confessions were coerced by police, who had bullied the teens, and lied to them, to get those confessions.
A transient -- Richard Tuite -- was later convicted of Stephanie's murder.
Crowe family attorney Milt Silverman this morning told Superior Court Judge Kenneth So that the lead detectives in the initial investigation were "scoundrels and liars" who framed Michael Crowe and his two friends to protect an officer who Silverman said botched the initial investigation.
Silverman told So that witnesses in the hearing will include a superior court judge who heard the initial case against the teens, a sheriff's detective who developed the case against Tuite, and Stephanie and Michael Crowe's mother.
Though a federal appeals court recently over turned Tuite's conviction, his lawyers are not opposing Michael Crowe's request for a finding of "factual innocence.”
Michael Crowe and his father will not testify or attend the hearing, which is expected to last two days.
The family's lawyer says their testimony is not needed, and that it would be too emotionally draining for Michael and Steven Crowe to relive Stephanie's murder.
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