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Peter Reilly — a man first convicted of, and then exonerated in, the brutal death and mutilation of his mother 27 years ago — now wants the long-dormant investigation rekindled. He is asking the state to use new DNA techniques to help identify Barbara Gibbons’ killer. Reilly made his request for the DNA testing through his attorney, Hugh Keefe of Lynch, Traub, Keefe & Errante, and through Paul McQuillan, a New Britain, Conn., attorney and former special prosecutor in the murder case. The Connecticut State Police is being asked to test the DNA of hair samples found on the scene of the murder 27 years ago. McQuillan, whose 1977 investigation into the case helped clear Reilly as a young adult, has asked state police to find out if any evidence from the murder can be used in DNA testing, since such technological methods were not available to police or investigators in the ’70s. “I have asked them to find out if they have any materials suitable for testing,” McQuillan said, “since there was testimony that indicated the victim had hair samples in her hand.” McQuillan stated that during the testimony given at Reilly’s manslaughter trial, police experts said strands of Gibbon’s hair and of Reilly’s were identified and found in her hands at the crime scene. Another strand of hair also found was never identified, however. Reilly could not be reached for comment. State Police Sgt. Paul Vance confirmed that his department has received a request for several items to be tested. Vance noted the Reilly case was never officially closed and that the forensic experts would soon be looking at the request made by McQuillan and Keefe. “Let the chips fall where they may,” Vance said. ” We conducted a complete investigation and if there are some things that may have been overlooked we will do everything to bring this case to a successful conclusion.” BLOODY NIGHT Reilly was 18 years old in 1973 when he came home from a youth group meeting at the Torrington Methodist Church around 10 p.m. to find his mother’s lifeless body in a pool of blood on the floor. Her neck was slashed to the point of near decapitation. She had been sexually assaulted and, according to the autopsy, her thighbones were broken and her abdomen and back were stabbed after she had bled to death. A wispy 120 pounds, five-foot seven and fatherless, Reilly was eager to comply with authority figures who immediately took him into questioning upon being called to the Falls Village scene, according to his supporters. After an intense eight hour questioning, Reilly implicated himself and signed a statement before being arrested by police. After being convicted of first-degree manslaughter, Reilly was sentenced to six to 16 years in prison for the murder of his mother. Reilly later recanted his statement to police and was eventually granted a new trial. Newly named State’s Attorney Dennis A. Santore informed Judge Simon S. Cohen he had found evidence to prove Reilly’s innocence and that, along with work done by McQuillan and John A. Danaher of West Hartford, helped to clear Reilly. In 1977 Reilly was officially cleared of the charges brought against him. “His name has been cleared for some time now,” McQuillan said. “He wants to know who killed his mother.” Reilly, who still resides in Connecticut according to McQuillan, has also enlisted the help of attorney Keefe in trying to close the case.McQuillan said Reilly would not be made available for comments on the testing. This is not the first time that Reilly or his attorneys have asked that the investigation be rekindled. In 1998, Keefe asked the State Police to consider investigating another suspect. ” I did write to Henry Lee about re-opening the case based on a specific suggestion on who the killer might be,” Keefe said, regarding a discussion with Reilly. But Keefe declined to comment on whom Reilly thinks may have killed his mother all those years ago.

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