An inmate who has served 17 years of a life sentence for killing his mistress and dumping her at Muddy Run Park won’t get relief from a Pennsylvania appellate court.
Alphonso Sanders challenged his conviction, based on a recent development concerning flawed hair-evidence testimony, first to Lancaster County Court and, most recently, to the Pennsylvania Superior Court.
Sanders, now 62 and serving his sentence in Huntingdon County, claims an FBI agent’s misrepresentation of hair evidence found in his vehicle pushed a Lancaster County to convict him of the first-degree murder of Kim Lori Dougherty.
Assistant District Attorney Travis S. Anderson, in response to Sanders’ filing, claims the agent’s testimony over the hair was “minimally inculpatory.”
Anderson writes the totality of the evidence against Sanders was “overwhelming.”
The state Superior Court agreed. In denying Sanders’ request, the high court wrote that Sanders had “motive and opportunity” to kill Dougherty.
Evidence presented at trial included:
- Sanders, formerly of New Jersey, was having an extramarital affair with Dougherty and was the last person seen with her while she was alive.
- Blood evidence - matched to Dougherty - and some of Dougherty’s belongings, including her wallet, were found in Sanders’ van.
- A pamphlet from Muddy Run Park was found in Sanders’ van.
- During a prison visit, Sanders was overheard asking his wife to provide an alibi.
It was never determined exactly where Dougherty was killed. District Attorney Stedman has said circumstantial evidence showed she was likely killed somewhere in the Delaware Valley. She was beaten and shot in the head. A fisherman found her at Muddy Run.
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