DNA Match Solves 40-year-old Murder in Milford;
Affirms Local Man was Wrongfully Convicted of the Crime
New England Innocence Project and Ropes & Gray File Motion for a New Trial for
Gary Cifizzari of Taunton Who Has Served 35 Years for a Crime He Did Not Commit
Today, the New England Innocence Project and a pro bono Ropes & Gray litigation team hosted a press conference after filing a motion for a new trial in the Worcester Superior Court for Gary Cifizzari of Taunton. Newly discovered DNA evidence affirms Cifizzari’s innocence.
Mr. Cifizzari was wrongfully convicted in Worcester County Superior Court of the gruesome 1979 murder of his great aunt, Concetta Schiappa. Mr. Cifizzari has spent 35 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. His brother Michael Cifizzari, also convicted, died in prison before the new DNA evidence could exonerate him.
The motion outlines how newly tested DNA evidence from the murder scene, including semen and saliva found on the victim’s nightgown, excludes Gary Cifizzari and also identifies Michael Giroux as the true perpetrator of the crime through a CODIS DNA match. In addition, the motion details how the Commonwealth’s case against Mr. Cifizzari was built entirely on flawed bitemark comparison testimony, which the scientific community has since condemned as lacking any scientific basis. The motion also explains how one of the Commonwealth’s original experts, Dr. Richard Souviron, has since recanted the testimony he offered at Mr. Cifizzari’s trial. The testimony was used to convict him.
Mr. Giroux, now deceased, was originally a suspect in the case and questioned by police, but was never charged and later went on to commit other crimes.