Hooman Ashkan Panah was convicted in 1995 of sexually assaulting and murdering an 8-year-old girl, and sentenced to death.
The victim was found in a suitcase in Hooman’s closet, in his apartment which was shared by Hooman, his mother and a guest, Ahmed Seihoon, who was the last person to see the victim before she went missing.
The conviction was based on pathology and serological evidence, however this evidence was false, being inconsistent with DNA evidence which was collected but not presented at trial, in fact his attorney has claimed that the DNA proves Hooman to be innocent.
An independent pathologist has stated that the victim likely died much later than Hooman was present at the apartment, meaning he could not have committed the crime.
Multiple searches of the apartment were conducted by the police, which failed to discover the body, suggesting that it was brought into the apartment after Hooman was arrested.
The guest, Ahmed Seihoon, had the opportunity both to commit the crime and return the body to the apartment in a suitcase. In addition, according to Hooman’s mother, he lied to police to give the impression he had an alibi.