Friday May 01 2009
Convicted killer’s daughter takes up fight for innocence
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
Kristi Kovacich joins Northern California project to free wrongly prosecuted
While a jury convicted Paul Kovacich Jr. of murdering his wife 26 years ago, his family and defense attorneys say an innocent man was found guilty. Kovacich has 60 days from his sentencing last week to appeal the conviction and the 27-years-to-life prison term he was handed by Placer County Judge Mark Curry. His daughter and son, Kristi and John Kovacich, continue to support their father. In 2007, Kristi Kovacich became involved with the Northern California Innocence Project. The project is a non-profit organization based at Santa Clara University that fights to exonerate innocent prisoners and pushes for legal reforms related to wrongful convictions. Kristi Kovacich said she has participated in several events. “I started working with the Northern California Innocence Project because of the disturbing examples of misconduct I personally witnessed on the part of police and prosecutors to gain a conviction against my father,” Kristi Kovacich wrote in response to a series of questions asked by the Journal. According to information from the Innocence Project, on the first 74 DNA exonerations they studied, mistaken identity was one of the main factors leading to conviction. Police misconduct was the third leading factor with prosecutorial misconduct following close behind. Kristi Kovacich said she and her brother will be active in the appeal process. In the meantime, they plan to visit him while he is imprisoned. “I am hoping this wrongful conviction will be corrected through the appeal process,” Kristi Kovacich said. The Journal's Jenifer Gee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment.