Investigators: DNA technology points to new suspect in 16-year-old murder case

CABELL COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- New DNA technology has given investigators a new suspect's name in the murder case of Deanna Crawford. Her body was found in 2002 in a rural area of Cabell County near Hickory Ridge.

Three men have spent years behind bars for the crime: brothers Phillip and Nathaniel Barnett and Justin Black.

Prosecutors tell us they don't believe the new evidence changes their case, but Barnett’s family says this proves what their loved ones have been saying all along.

The Barnett family sat hopeful in court.

"I never thought for a second that my son had anything to do with this,” said father Philip Barnett.

But their wait continues, even as Nathaniel Barnett looked on. Nathaniel was sentenced to 15 years for his role in the murder but has since been released in 2016.

Phillip is still in prison.

Black’s attorney Josh Tepfer said Black is being released on parole next week after the parole board had a chance to review the new DNA evidence.

All three men have always maintained their innocence.

"We are committed to showing these three men were wrongly committed," Tepfer said.

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