Rodney Lincoln case under review by Missouri judge
Rodney Lincoln

Rodney Lincoln, convicted of the 1982 murder of St. Louis woman JoAnn Tate, had his case heard in court on Thursday and Friday for a judge to review his conviction.

Lincoln has been serving time in prison in Missouri since 1983.

Thursday's hearing was scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. Friday's hearing was scheduled for 9 a.m.

Lincoln was expected to attend the hearings after a court order was issued permitting him to appear in civilian clothes.

JoAnn Tate was found murdered in her apartment in St. Louis on April 27, 1982. She was stabbed and sexually assaulted. Daughters Melissa, 7, and Renee, 4, were found with JoAnn. Melissa was stabbed 10 times; Renee had her throat cut. Both girls survived. Melissa identified Lincoln as the attacker from photo and live line-ups.

After a Crime Watch Daily investigation of the case aired in November 2015, Tate's surviving daughter, Melissa DeBoer, recanted her testimony against Lincoln and declared another man named Tommy Lynn Sells was the culprit in the crime. Sells was in prison since 1999 for other murders, and was executed in 2014.

DeBoer met with the St. Louis Prosecuting Attorney's Office on Dec. 4, 2015. Three days later DeBoer visited Lincoln in prison to deliver the news directly to him and ask him face-to-face for his forgiveness. "I have nothing to forgive you for," Lincoln tells her. "You are completely blameless. I thank you for your courage, but you only have my love, not any anger from me. I'm so sorry for you, and for losing your mom."

UPDATE Thursday, 3:08 p.m. CT: Key witness Melissa DeBoer is on the stand.

Melissa DeBoer said on the stand: “I felt like I had the world on my shoulders. I’ve spent my own life in a prison. ... Every time I open that Pandora’s Box I suffer.”

UPDATE Thursday, 4:14 p.m. CT: Proceedings finished for the day; court is in recess until Friday at 9 a.m. local time.

UPDATE Friday, 12 p.m. CT: Evidence presentation and witness testimony have completed for the two-day hearing. The judge is now reviewing elements of the case.

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Rodney Lincoln Jr. talks to Crime Watch Daily's Michelle Sigona outside the courthouse, Thursday, March 17, 2016
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Outside the courthouse, Thursday, March 17, 2016
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Lincoln supporter vehicle, Thursday, March 17, 2016
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Lincoln supporters outside court, Thursday, March 17, 2016
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Rodney Lincoln supporter, Thursday, March 17, 2016

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