February 15th, 2015
The New England Innocence Project is pleased to announce that, with the help of the attorneys at Goodwin Procter, the Suffolk County Supreme Judicial Court has ordered a new trial for our client, Michael Cowels.
Cowels was convicted in the 1993 stabbing of a young woman in Chelsea, Massachusetts. The prosecution’s case was circumstantial, and largely based on two bloody towels found in the home of a friend of the defendant. New DNA testing revealed that Cowels’ DNA was not present on the towels.
Mr. Cowels’ attorneys, David Apfel, Nicholas Mitrokostas and Joshua Daniels, successfully appealed the lower court’s denial of the Motion for a New Trial, arguing that the DNA testing of a blood soaked towel excluding Mr.Cowels constituted newly discovered evidence and warranted a new trial.
The towel was the only “physical evidence corroborating a key element of an important prosecution witness’s testimony”. (Commonwealth v Michael Cowels) That witness’ testimony, changed from his original statement which was consistent with Mr. Cowel’s account, “enabled him to avoid prosecution as an accessory after the fact, but it also allowed him to avoid jail time on an unrelated motor vehicle offense.” (Id.) Finding that the DNA was of an unknown male and not Mr. Cowels’ significantly undercut the Commonwealth’s case.
This is an incredible victory; congratulations to attorneys Apfel, Mitrokostas, and Daniels of Goodwin Proctor. And a very special congratulations to Michael Cowels!
Read more about the decision here