- Associated Press - Friday, March 18, 2016

MARYVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A former inmate who was later acquitted is suing the former detective who a court ruled withheld crucial evidence in a murder case that was overturned.

Attorneys for Douglas F. Jordan Jr. filed a civil rights lawsuit in U.S. District Court this week against the Blount County Sheriff’s Office and former investigator Scott Carpenter, The Knoxville News Sentinel reported (https://bit.ly/1PgKR39).

Jordan was convicted of second-degree murder in 2002 in the 1998 killing of Jennifer Byerley, a woman who could neither hear nor talk.

The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals ruled in 2010 that former investigator Scott Carpenter had withheld information that created doubt about Jordan’s conviction. Then, last year, a jury acquitted Jordan of the crime.

“Because of defendant Blount County’s policies, defendant Carpenter believed his actions in suppressing evidence would not be monitored or investigated and indeed would be tolerated and approved,” the lawsuit said.

Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Marian O’Briant declined to comment on the lawsuit. She says Carpenter resigned at least a decade ago.

Byerley’s body was found dumped alongside a Blount County road. She had been stabbed and strangled, and her throat had been cut.

Prosecutors said Jordan had been with Byerley the night of her death, and his blood had been found on her clothes.

Three months after the killing, a woman phoned authorities and said a Mexican national who was living nearby had confessed to the crime. Carpenter interviewed the man, who denied being in Tennessee at the time, but the investigator did not tell attorneys about the man.

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Information from: Knoxville News Sentinel, https://www.knoxnews.com

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