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Family Wants '82 Murder Conviction Overturned Elizabeth Matthews

St. Louis, MO (KSDK)

- After more than 30 years, a convicted killer could soon get out of prison.

Rodney Lincoln was sent to prison for brutally killing JoAnn Tate and injuring her two daughters in 1982.

He insists he's innocent and his family says now DNA testing proves it.

68 year old Rodney Lincoln hasn't spent a holiday season as a free man in three decades. This year his family is hopeful.

"The day he comes home is going to be a holiday, no matter if its today, tomorrow or Christmas day," says his Lincoln's son also named Rodney Lincoln.

The family set balloons free Sunday afternoon, attached to each was a picture of Lincoln and tidbits from the trial, hoping to spread the word about the case.

Lincoln's son says 12 weeks ago they were back in court with what they think is evidence proving his innocence.

"Went over DNA evidence that actually proved his innocence that he was nowhere near the scene," says Lincoln.

For the victim's family this is reopening old wounds. In April of 1982 JoAnn Tate was brutally murdered, her two daughters were also attacked, but survived.

Tate's brother Nathaniel Clenney is ready for the story to be over.

"This is never going to die, every time this is brought back up, you have to keep reliving it," says Clenney.

He says the lack of DNA was not surprising and that his 7 year old niece, one of the victims, saw the whole thing.

"She sat and watched him wipe things off and stuff, so he was smart enough to get rid of evidence," says Clenney.

He and his family still believe Lincoln is guilty based on the two girl's eyewitness accounts, putting Lincoln at the scene.

"I understand how Kay feels that's her dad and she's going to do whatever she can for her dad and I probably would too, I don't think he deserves it, I really don't think he deserves it," says Clenney.

Lincoln's daughter Kay reads words written by her father, who's hopeful and still behind bars.

"I want to like and be liked by others for only then will I be truly freed," says Kay Lincoln.

No word on when the judge's ruling will come down, it could take weeks or even months.

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