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Donald Southworth returned to Fayette Co. after conviction overturned

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The man at the center of a botched Lexington Police Department investigation into his wife's murder is back in the Fayette County Detention Center.

In March, the Kentucky Supreme Court overturned Donald Southworth's 2012 murder conviction and his life in prison sentence.

Police discovered his wife, Umi, badly beaten behind their home in June 2010. For hours, police thought she was already dead. But the coroner discovered she was still barely alive. She died the next day in the hospital.

In a 52-page summary, though, Kentucky's Supreme Court overturned that conviction and ordered a new trial.

After his 2012 conviction, Donald Southworth was sent to the Northpoint Training Center and was transferred back from there to Fayette County on Thursday.

The high court's decision to overturn his conviction revolved around sexual evidence found at the scene, testimony involving Donald Southworth's sexual history, and the lower court allowing "the Commonwealth to admit obviously prejudicial proof that Southworth had previously committed an unusual sexual act without first proving that such an act had occurred in this case."

Justice Mary Noble said that testimony "...was not relevant to the case, or if it was, the Commonwealth failed to show that it was" and to connect that evidence found at the scene and Donald Southworth's sexual history "...is rampant speculation."

This case changed how Lexington Police respond to crime scenes. Officers didn't call for emergency care until three hours and 17 minutes after they found Southworth. Now, police call for emergency care as soon as they get to a scene.


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