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July 22, 2014

Convicted murderer may go free after 20/20 report

by Adam Finley, posted Mar 9th 2007 5:20PM

julie rea harperIn 1997, Julie Rea Harper was convicted of killing her son, Joel. In 2002, Rea Harper was interviewed on 20/20, still claiming she was innocent. After the report was aired, convicted murderer and death row inmate Tommy Lynn Sells confessed to crime writer Diane Fanning that he was the one who killed Rea Harper's son.

Tonight's episode of 20/20 (ABC, 10:00 p.m.) will focus on the re-trial that stemmed from this new evidence, and will feature interviews with both Sells and Rea Harper.

I don't think I've watched an episode of 20/20 since I was in high school, but this story is just too interesting for me not to watch and see what all this is about. Of course, we can never truly know what actually happened, but the thought of any innocent person going to prison for a crime they didn't commit gives me pause.

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Susie

Interesting case ~ unbelievably sad and unjust ~ and repeatedly we learn of others wrongfully convicted, thanks to the Innocence Project and other groups such as those mentioned in the program. The American system of justice seems seriously flawed ~ and if a "million dollars is needed to even the scales of justice" as the attorney said, and he should know since he was working pro bono, how can most people expect justice? Frightening to consider.

March 11 2007 at 1:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
PORSCHE

Curt,

She can't sue...the system didn't work but unless they can show it was intentional...no case.

I think those that confess or those convicted of multiple counts of a crime should have to face the possibility of death.

March 10 2007 at 11:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BartmanDK

You know what khamel i think i saw that exact case "ripped from the headlines" on L&O.. Dont know what it ended with thoug.. and im too drunk to play jury on the other case!! :D

March 09 2007 at 9:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Curt

hey, she'll get to sue right? And that'll mean a big ass settlement.

I know, I know, it doesn't bring back her son or take back all the crap she's been through, but that's why they call it the silver lining. it lines the bed of crap.

And this is why the death penalty should be taken away. They were able to convict her wrongly, who's to say that there aren't those on death row that're actually innocent too.

March 09 2007 at 7:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
khamel

i think i saw this is law and order once. or was it oz?

March 09 2007 at 6:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
erroneous_nick

"...but the thought of any innocent person going to prison for a crime they didn't commit gives me pause."

Going to prison for a crime you didn't commit is bad, but this lady's situation is so much worse. Imagine your child being killed, being wrongly accused of killing him and going to jail for that. Personally, if I were to lose one of my children, mistakenly being sent to prison would pale in comparison, but having both heaped upon you would be almost too much to bear.

March 09 2007 at 5:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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