Woman could have murder conviction overturned

The Elkhart County Prosecutor's office has filed a request to overturn a murder conviction.
Posted on Sept. 29, 2012 at 1:00 a.m.

ELKHART — A woman found guilty of murder and sentenced to 55 years in prison in 2005 may have her conviction set aside and her murder charge reinstated.

The Elkhart County Prosecutor’s office has requested the Elkhart County Circuit Court to set aside the 2005 murder conviction of Lana Canen for the murder of Helen Sailor at the Waterfall High Rise apartments, Elkhart, in 2002.

The prosecutor’s office made the request to set Canen’s conviction aside following an evidentiary hearing held Aug. 16, where Canen said she was seeking to have her conviction set aside based on the claim that evidence presented at trial was faulty.

In the initial investigation, detective Dennis Chapman of the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department performed a finger print analysis and rendered his professional opinion during trial. Chapman testified that he had compared the lifted finger prints taken from a plastic pill container found in Helen Sailor’s room and that the print matched Canen’s.

However, in preparation for the Aug. 16 post-conviction hearing, Chapman determined he no longer believed the finger print matched that of Canen’s.

Elkhart County Sheriff Brad Rogers is planning a press conference on Monday to speak about the case.

Prosecuting Attorney Curtis Hill Jr. stated in a press release that it is “reasonable to believe that the jury relied upon Detective Chapman’s testimony in considering the evidence against her.”

Canen’s murder charge can be reinstated if Circuit Court Judge Terry Shewmaker vacates her conviction.

Canen had been originally sentenced to 55 years in prison following a conviction by the Elkhart County Circuit Court Jury. She was arrested Sept. 3, 2004, almost two years after the murder and a year after the arrest of Andrew Royer, who was also convicted of murder and sentenced to 55 years in prison.

Sailor, 94, was found dead in her apartment Nov. 29, 2002. Family members said they had dropped her off there after their Thanksgiving dinner the evening before.

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