Koua Fong Lee was convicted of criminal vehicular homicide in Ramsey County from a 2006 automobile accident where his car slammed into another vehicle, killing three of it’s occupants. Lee was sentenced to 8 years in prison.
During Lee’s trial, the prosecution presented expert testimony that Lee did not apply the brakes in his 1996 Toyota Camry prior to colliding with the other vehicle. In particular, the prosecution’s expert based his opinion the assertion that Lee’s Camry was not equipped with anti-lock brakes and no skid marks were visible at the scene of the accident. The defense called no expert to testify on Lee’s behalf.
Fast forward to 2010 to the newly discovered evidence shedding doubt on Lee’s conviction. First, evidence of ‘hot shock’ to the brake light bulbs on Lee’s Camry was discovered, suggesting the bulbs were illuminated on impact. Next, and more disturbing, was the fact that, despite the expert’s testimony during Lee’s trial, all 1996 Toyota Camry’s came equipped with anti-lock brakes. In addition, numerous individuals came forward and claimed their 1996 Camry suffered the same uncontrollable acceleration as Lee maintained had occurred to his vehicle back in 2006.
After a hearing on the issues of Lee’s appeal, the Ramsey County judge who sat on his jury trial vacated Lee’s conviction and ordered his release. The Ramsey Attorney will not retry the case.