State To Challenge Overturned Murder Conviction

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - State Attorney Harry Shorstein recently announced he would appeal a ruling that set aside the murder conviction of Chad Heins.

Heins was found guilty in the 1994 stabbing death of his sister-in-law Tina Heins.

Earlier this month, a judge overturned the conviction based on the results of DNA testing.

Using DNA analysis techniques unavailable a decade ago, Heins' lawyers were able to show that hairs and scrapings taken from under Tina Heins' fingernails did not come from either her husband or her brother-in-law.

Other new evidence included a fingerprint from an unknown person on a bloody sink in the apartment bathroom.

Heins always maintained his innocence in the killing of his sister-in-law, who was pregnant.

He said that he had drunk several large beers, drove home and passed out on the sofa of the apartment he shared with his brother and sister-in-law. He said he heard Tina Heins come home about 2:30 a.m. but didn't wake up again until 5:45 a.m., when he found three small fires burning in the living room and kitchen.

After putting out the fires, Heins said he went into Tina Heins' bedroom and discovered her body.

Police never found a murder weapon and there was no blood on Chad Heins' clothes, nor was there evidence of any freshly laundered clothes.

Shorstein told Channel 4 if the appeal fails, he expects he will retry Heins.

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