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Prominent BR Attorney says DNA evidence exonerates him in wife's murder

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BATON ROUGE - A prominent Baton Rouge attorney says DNA evidence processed by the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab rules him out as a suspect in his wife's murder 30 years ago.

Denise Porter was killed inside her apartment in 1985. Investigators said she was stabbed to death. Over the past 30 years, no one was arrested.

Cold case detectives reopened the case a few years ago. At that time, a DNA sample was taken from Denise Porter's husband at the time, Joel Porter. Those results came back last year, but weren't released until a few months ago.

"Mr. Porter's known all along he didn't do it," his attorney, Steve Irving said. "It's a relief to him to find that he may have an opportunity to prove who did."

Porter points to documents where the DNA was processed by the State Police Crime Lab. DNA samples tested from Denise Porter and Joel Porter show Joel can be excluded as a minor contributor of the DNA found on her ankle after she was killed.

"The justice department needs to come in and investigate the way they handle minorities in this parish," Porter said. "What happened to me is emblematic of what happened across this country with black males, and it's sad."

The Baton Rouge Police Department declined to comment on this case because of pending litigation, however, they did say no one has been ruled out as a suspect.

"What has happened... is I sued them," Porter said. "What they are trying to do is defend against a lawsuit, so they are leading the public to believe I'm a suspect in spite of the fact that DNA exonerates me."

As this investigation continues, Denise Porter's killer remains at large. Joel Porter hopes her killer will finally be brought to justice. He also wants DNA samples to be taken from men she was closely tied to.

"I would like for them to test every guy my wife was involved with, and see if that DNA belongs to those persons," Porter said. "That's all I want done."

Porter is suing over the way a DNA sample was taken from him on the side of the interstate two years ago. He claims the way that sample was taken violated his rights. The case was heard in court, but a judge will make a decision at a later date.

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