Missouri man won't be retried in 2006 death of his wife
BUFFALO, Mo. (AP) — Prosecutors have decided not to retry a southwest Missouri man accused in the shooting death of his wife on Christmas Day 2006, saying they couldn't determine if she was killed or killed herself from evidence found at the scene.
Brad Jennings, 62, had been free on bond before the Missouri Attorney General's Office announced Thursday that he wouldn't be tried a second time, the Springfield News-Leader reports.
A judge ordered Jennings' release from prison in February after finding authorities had failed to disclose that the robe he was wearing when his wife, Lisa Jenning, died tested negative for gunshot residue.
Lisa Jennings' death at the couple's home in Buffalo, about 35 miles (55 kilometers) northeast of Springfield, was initially ruled a suicide, but authorities reinvestigated at the urging of her younger sister. That led to the determination that blood spatters on Lisa Jennings' hands were inconsistent with a suicide.
During the 2009 trial, the prosecutor suggested that Jennings — who did not testify — killed his wife while wearing the bathrobe, then changed clothes and washed up to remove gunshot residue from his hands before police arrived. Gunshot residue tests on his hands were negative. The prosecutor also suggested that the reason Lisa Jennings had gunshot residue on her right hand wasn't because she fired the weapon, but because she was near Brad Jennings when he fired it.
On appeal, the blood-spatter evidence on which the conviction hinged was called into question, and the Missouri Attorney General's Office said in a statement Thursday that an independent expert couldn't "decisively determine whether a homicide or suicide took place."
The statement also said an internal review determined that attorneys within the office didn't know gunshot residue test results on the robe existed during Jennings' trial.
Brad Jennings' sister, Marsha Iler, spent $250,000 on attorneys to free her brother.
"It came as a total shock," she said. "I am so thankful."
Information from: Springfield News-Leader, http://www.news-leader.com