1988 Pontiac murder cold case reopened

Attorney believes DNA testing results will exonerate Gilbert Poole

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PONTIAC, Mich. – Gilbert Poole is serving a life sentence for the 1988 murder of a man in Pontiac.

However, now Poole is getting a second chance to prove he didn't do it thanks to the Cooley Law School Innocence Project.

Prosecutors said Robert Mejia left Popper's Bar with Poole the night before the murder. They went for a walk and Poole tried to rob him. They struggled and Poole killed Mejia with a pocket knife.

"He was convicted on junk science," said Marla Mitchell, of the Innocence Project.

Mitchell has been fighting for Poole since 2008. She finally got a judge to order a DNA test on blood found at the scene which wasn't Poole's or Mejia's.

"I believe that the DNA testing will prove his innocence. We already know that at least on one item of evidence it's not Mr. Poole's blood, because a blood type was found that is not consistent with the victim and is not consistent with Mr. Poole," said Mitchell.

Poole has denied everything from the start. He denied ever being at the bar and he especially denied ever confessing to his then-girlfriend, who became a star witness against him. Mitchell said the results of the DNA test could produce the actual murderer.

"There is a concrete, viable suspect other than Mr. Poole, which we don't often see ... an individual that could potentially be the actual perpetrator," said Mitchell.

A key piece of blood evidence was blood found under seven of the victim's fingernails which was not Poole's. They're hoping for the DNA results in the fall.


About the Author:

Jason anchors Local 4's 5:30 p.m. newscast. He joined WDIV in January 2015 as a general assignment reporter and has a Journalism degree from Michigan State University.