Recap of day one of the “Prom Night Murder” hearing

NOW: Recap of day one of the “Prom Night Murder” hearing

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind., --Hearings continue for the man convicted of the "Prom Night Murders" in Lakeville. The defense team for Jeff Pelley said that evidence was not taken into consideration and could've been mishandled in his 2006 trial.

Pelley has been behind bars for more than a decade but has maintained his innocence ever since. Now, his defense team wants a new trial.

Thirteen years after four members of the Pelley family were murdered in their home, prosecutors charged Jeff Pelley, the son of one of the victims, for the crimes

Within that 13-year time frame, the defense claims evidence was mishandled during that time.

The case was opened back up over a decade after the murders occurred.

The original prosecution claimed evidence, such as jeans in the washing machine to wash off blood as a reason to believe that Jeff Pelley killed his father, step mother, and young step sisters.

Prosecutors believed that after 17-year-old Jeff Pelley shot and killed his family, he threw his clothes in the laundry to wash off blood.

But the defense argues that the jeans brought in as evidence were not found in the washing machine -- in fact -- they claim the pants weren't found at the scene at all.

The defense called on two witnesses, the cold case investigator with St. Joseph County when Pelley was charged in 2002, as well as an expert for the defense.

Craig Whitfield, the investigator, could not recall any reports of the jeans being found in the washer.

The expert commented that the claim should be thrown out if the jeans were not documented.

The defense also claimed that Bob Pelley, one of the victims and the suspect’s father, had a troubled past with fraudulent banking that caught up with him and endangered his family.

Authorities say Pelley killed his family and then went to prom despite being grounded from after prom activities. Sixteen years ago, Pelley was found guilty of the murders of his father, step-mother and his 6- and 8-year-old step-sisters.

Today, he still fights for his innocence.

But one family member says Pelley is guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

The niece of Dawn Pelley and cousin of her daughters, Jamie Collins sent ABC57 News a statement saying in part:

“The family and close friends of Dawn, Janel, and Jolene Pelley believe that Jeff is exactly where he belongs—serving out his life behind bars. And we are each left to serve a lifetime without our loved ones. We have faith in the legal system and the prosecution team, and sincerely hope that justice will not be undone,” Collins said.

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