Best Evidence

George Allen claims police made him confess to rape and murder. Twenty years after Allen was convicted, his last hope hinges on a DNA test.

"Uh, yes, she was."

"Had you ever had white girls before?"

"Yeah, I have."

William Hood
Murder victim Mary Bell
St. Louis Mercantile Library/UMSL
Murder victim Mary Bell

"Huh? Well, where -- when you had white girls before, did you usually stick it in their butt like that, or -- "

"Yeah, if it went in."

Riley goes back through the places Allen claimed to have sex with Bell, then asks, "I mean, was she -- when she came up the steps, was she, ah, running around the apartment or did she run right to the bed, or -- "

"She ran in one room up and tried to, ah, hold the door shut," Allen says.

Riley asks what happened after Allen raped Bell. "Uh, then I remember, uh, puttin' on my clothes and runnin' out the door."

"Oh, but didn't you do somethin' first?"

"I don't remember doin' anything else."

Riley presses: Did Allen take anything from the apartment? Allen denies doing so.

"Did you pick up a towel while you was in the house?"

"Yeah, I guess I did," Allen says, but he can't remember the color.

"Did you wrap anything in this towel?"

"No."

"Think now, George."

"I don't remember -- I don't remember taking anything. I remember runnin' out of the house, that's all I know."

"OK. When you was in the house, did you hear any noises? Like noises comin' from the outside? Or noises from the inside?"

"No, I didn't."

"Nothin'?"

"Nothin'."

"You're sure?"

"I'm sure."

Riley has Allen go back through the sequence of events. Allen remembers a knock on the door, a voice calling "Sherry."

Then Allen again tells Riley that after the rape, he left.

"When you started to go, was she still screamin', or what was she doin'? 'Cause what's gonna keep her from screamin' if you left?"

"Well, I had hit her a couple of times, and I think she was ah -- "

"What'd you hit her with?"

"My hand."

"Well -- didn't use nothin' else? Think about it, now."

"Uh-uh, nothin' else."

"Huh?"

"That was it."

"Well, I know you're a, you know, you're a pretty good-size man."

"Yeah."

"Didn't you cut her?"

"No, I don't remember cuttin' her."

"Didn't you get somethin' from her house and cut her?"

"What, like a knife from the kitchen? It might have happened that I hit her or somethin' -- but I don't remember it."

"I didn't say a knife in the kitchen. You said a knife in a kitchen. Do you remember stickin' her with a knife?"

"I know I recall chasin' her through the house," Allen says.

"Do you remember stickin' her with a knife?"

"No. I don't remember stickin' her with one, no."

Allen continues to deny that he stabbed Bell; Riley keeps pressing. Finally Allen says Mary had a knife, that he knocked it from her hand.

"Did you pick it up?"

"No."

"Think about it, now."

"I didn't."

"You didn't touch the knife?"

"No."

"We have the knife, you know," Riley tells Allen. "Do you remember if you touched the knife?"

"Yeah, I guess so. Yeah."

Allen tells Riley that Mary had the knife and that he chased her in the apartment. He knocked the knife from her hand.

"Did you go back and pick up the knife?"

"No."

"George?"

"I didn't."

"George, did you stab this woman?"

"I don't remember stabbin' her."

"Could you have stabbed her and don't remember?"

"I could have."

"How many times did you stab her, George?"

"I don't remember."

"You remember everything else. Why wouldn't you remember that? Look at me."

"I don't remember."

"Look at me --"

"I don't --"

"Look at me. Look at me, George."

"-- because I'm a heavy drinker, and if I did it I was drunk at the time, I know."

"But you're not saying anything about stabbin' her."

"Was she stabbed?"

"Yes, she was stabbed."

"Well, she was stabbed during the fight, then."

Riley has Allen go back and tell the story again. Allen admits and then denies cutting Bell.

Riley gets exasperated: "George, I can't understand you. You remember so much, so many of the little details as I'm askin' you questions. You remember about the big bust she had, and about her waist and about this --"

"I'm rememberin' it 'cause you got the evidence. I don't remember nothin'," Allen said. "You got the evidence and the fingerprints, you know. Before we started talkin' I said, no, I don't remember."

Riley continues to ask about the stabbing, trying to get Allen to tell him where he stabbed Bell.

"I don't remember killing her, I really don't."

Riley pulls out two pictures of Bell: "Will this help your memory? Is that the woman you're talkin' about? George?"

"Yeah, that's her."

"You see the way she's stabbed there? In them pictures?"

"Uh-huh."

"Did you stab her like that?"

"Yeah, I guess I did."

The interview continues only a few more minutes. Riley asks Allen a few more times to admit stabbing Bell, and when he waffles -- "I guess I did" -- Riley says, "Don't guess, did you --"

"I said I did."

The interview ends, and soon after Allen is charged with murder.

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