New DNA evidence shows Robert Dewey is innocent in the death of a Mesa County woman.

Dewey is due in court for a hearing in Grand Junction on Monday afternoon.

Dewey will walk through the courthouse doors in shackles and he could walk out a free man.

Dewey was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the 1994 rape and murder of Jacie Taylor.

The 19-year-old was sexually assaulted and strangled with a dog leash.

Taylor's body was found in a bathtub her apartment building in Palisade.

Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey was on the panel that approved new DNA testing in Dewey's case.

"You want to exonerate an innocent person. You don't want them serving time," Morrissey said.

In 2010, Dewey's case was reviewed by the DNA Justice Review Project, which is led by the Colorado Attorney General's office and the Denver District Attorney, through a grant of more than $1.2 million. The grant is paying for the review of 5,100 cases of forcible rape, murder and manslaughter where DNA was involved.

If Dewey walks free he'll be the project's only exoneration so far.

Morrissey says today's DNA technology was not available in Mesa County when Dewey was convicted in 1996.

"So DNA obviously is much better than that old technology," Morrissey said.

During the initial murder trial, Forensics experts testified that a blood stain on Dewey's shirt had a mixture of his blood and Taylor's DNA.
The defense in his case argued that mixture could come from several different sources and tried to convince the jury that investigators did a poor job and other viable suspects had been overlooked.

A Mesa County jury disagreed and found him guilty of first-degree murder and sexual assault. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

9NEWS legal analyst Scott Robinson says Dewey could have grounds for a lawsuit to award financial damages for time served.

"There's no (financial) limit if he files a federal civil rights claim, but he needs more than just wrongful conviction to have a solid case," Robinson said.

Robinson says Dewey would have to prove police and prosecutorial misconduct - much like the Tim Masters case.

Masters received a $10 million settlement for his wrongful conviction.

Dewey always maintained his innocence. He told the judge who sentenced him 'there's still a killer out there.'

Authorities in Grand Junction plan to file a motion Monday to dismiss Dewey's convictions for rape and murder.

Depending on how the judge rules, Dewey could walk free after his hearing Monday afternoon.