California Mother Wrongfully Convicted of Journalist’s 1985 Murder Finally Exonerated After New DNA Evidence Surfaces

California Mother Wrongfully Convicted of Journalist’s 1985 Murder Finally Exonerated After New DNA Evidence Surfaces

Connie Dahl, a California mother of two, who had falsely confessed to a gruesome murder, has been exonerated after nearly four decades.

This case highlights the importance of modern investigative techniques and the relentless pursuit of truth.

Back in 1985, Dahl and her boyfriend Ricky Davis were wrongfully convicted of the brutal murder of journalist Jane Hylton.

Hylton had been beaten and stabbed nearly 30 times at Davis’ El Dorado Hills home, where the couple was staying.

The interrogation tactics used by detectives coerced Dahl into a false confession, which led to their convictions.

Discovery of the Real Killer

It wasn’t until much later, with the help of the Northern California Innocence Project, that DNA evidence revealed the real killer: Michael Green.

At the time of the murder, Green had followed Hylton’s daughter, Autumn Anker, home and brutally attacked her mother.

Family’s Reaction and Dahl’s Death

Dahl’s son, Nick Lange, expressed his sorrow that his mother wasn’t alive to see her name cleared.

Dahl had passed away in 2014, after being released from prison on probation in 2006.

She had been wrongfully charged with manslaughter and spent years in jail before her release.

The Fateful Night

On the night of the murder, Dahl and Davis had returned home from partying, only to discover Hylton’s lifeless body.

Despite having no evidence against them, detectives aggressively questioned and focused on them as suspects, ignoring other potential leads, including the boys Autumn had met earlier in the park.

A Cold Case Reopened

The case went cold for 14 years until it was reopened in 1999.

By then, Dahl had returned to Oregon, Autumn had married, and Davis was in federal prison for a different crime.

New detectives, using aggressive questioning tactics, targeted Dahl and Autumn, trying to match their stories to the detectives’ narrative.

Breakthrough with DNA Evidence

The true breakthrough came when the Northern California Innocence Project found new DNA evidence linking Green to the murder.

This evidence included DNA on the victim’s nightgown and fingernails, and a bite mark that matched Green.

Justice for Davis

Davis’ conviction was overturned in 2019, and he was exonerated in 2020 after spending 15 years in prison.

Green, meanwhile, was arrested and sentenced to 15 years to life for second-degree murder.

Davis was also declared factually innocent, making him the first person in California to be absolved based on genetic genealogy.

Final Exoneration for Dahl

In a bittersweet victory, Dahl was posthumously exonerated last Friday.

Her two sons, Nick and Jarred, were present at the hearing along with Davis.

They finally saw justice served for their mother, who had been wrongfully labeled a convicted killer for so many years.

Reflections and Moving Forward

Nick Lange shared his mixed emotions about his mother’s ordeal, acknowledging the struggles they faced due to her wrongful conviction.

He expressed relief and happiness for Davis’ newfound freedom and the resolution of the case.

This exoneration is a testament to the importance of truth and the relentless pursuit of justice, ensuring no one else suffers the same fate as Dahl and Davis.


With Green behind bars and Davis a free man, the nearly 40-year-old case has finally been resolved.

The exoneration of Connie Dahl marks a significant moment in the fight against wrongful convictions, highlighting the need for continuous improvement in investigative techniques and justice systems.

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