Justice Denied: Wrongfully Convicted Man Files Lawsuit Against Investigators for Murder Case Reopened After DNA Testing

SALEM, Mo. – A family in Salem, Missouri, continues their pursuit of justice as they navigate a decades-long battle. The tragic murder of Judy Spencer in 1982 had gone unsolved for years, until a breakthrough in DNA testing pointed investigators towards Spencer’s former boyfriend, Donald Nash. Nash was convicted of capital murder and served 12 years in prison. However, in 2020, his conviction was overturned due to a lack of evidence, leading to his release.

The case took a new turn when a lawsuit was filed before Nash’s death last year, contending that he should never have been arrested in the first place. To some, this presented a painful reality – Nash was not proven innocent, but rather benefited from a DNA technicality. Jeanne Paris, Spencer’s sister, expressed the mixed emotions she has grappled with, stating, “I had to accept that. I had to learn how to start living with that. Then they filed this lawsuit so that he could be paid for murdering my sister.”

Notably, Nash’s attorney, Jonathan Potts, emphasized that the lawsuit is not an attack on law enforcement, but rather a fight to protect the rights of every citizen in Missouri. Potts argued, “Our hearts go out to the family. They’ve been misled by the police just like everyone else. When it comes down to it, the evidence just shows that he’s innocent.”

The lawsuit specifically targets investigators, claiming that there was never probable cause to arrest Nash for murder from day one. Potts, highlighting the rarity of cases like this, stated, “There’s a lot of latitude for investigators to get immunity. We think what’s different here is the finding that Mr. Nash is innocent.”

While Paris hopes that the Missouri Attorney General’s Office will handle the case appropriately, she anticipates a lengthy process. Expressing her belief in the integrity of the investigators involved, Paris emphasized that the lawsuit not only disrespects her sister’s memory and honor but also undermines the dedicated professionals who have diligently worked on the case.

Currently, a court date for the lawsuit is pending. Requests for comment from the Missouri Attorney General’s Office have not yet elicited a response. As the family continues their struggle for justice, they remain determined to see the truth prevail in this difficult and emotionally charged case.