Evidence of genetic condition leads to overturned murder conviction

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WASILLA, Alaska (KTUU) Christiane “C.J.” Allison was only a child when she started experiencing strange pains.

Clayton Allison with his daughter, Jocelyn. Courtesy: Christiane Allison

“The first time my knees ever started creaking in the cold as I walked up the stairs I was eight years old,” Allison says. “I was in elementary school, and that's the same time at which I started experiencing nightly severe pain."

In 2009, Allison was diagnosed with type 3 Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a genetic condition that affects connective tissue. However, the diagnosis arrived too late for the Allisons.

“My husband was arrested in November of 2009, a couple of days before I got that diagnosis in the mail," Allison says.

Clayton Allison was arrested and later convicted, for the murder of their daughter, Jocelyn. The cause of death was blunt force trauma. Prosecutors argued Jocelyn died of abuse from her father, but the Allisons have maintained that she fell down-padded stairs and hit a chair, an injury that wouldn't normally kill a child, but C.J. Allison says her daughter wasn't normal.

“When my daughter was born, she appeared normal at first, but after about four to six months, she started showing signs of something very serious." C.J. Allison says.

The Allisons believed Jocelyn suffered from the same condition as her mother and was in the process of getting it tested when she died. When they tried to submit C.J.'s diagnosis as evidence, the judge forbade it from being mentioned because Jocelyn was never diagnosed and C.J.'s was a "rule-out" diagnosis. However, on July 26, the Alaska Court of Appeals overturned Allison's conviction, saying the court was in error by banning the diagnosis.

“I am very happy,” C.J. Allison says. “I am relieved that the appeals court saw the truth. I really am."

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