Victim of deadly 1982 attack lobbies for inmate’s freedom

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A woman assaulted as a girl during a 1982 attack that killed her mother wants Missouri's governor to free the man imprisoned the past three decades for the crimes, insisting he's innocent.

Melissa Neal DeBoer, now 42, wrote in an application for executive commutation to Gov. Jay Nixon this week that she's "heartbroken" that her now-recanted testimony helped convict Rodney Lincoln.

Seventy-two-year-old Lincoln has served 33 years of a life sentence since being convicted of manslaughter in the 1982 death of 35-year-old JoAnn Tate, who was killed in her home. Her two young daughters, including DeBoer at the age of 7, were assaulted.

Lincoln, originally was charged with capital murder, consistently has professed his innocence.

A Nixon spokesman, Scott Holste, says any commutation applications Nixon gets are reviewed.