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1 rape, 2 fires: In southwest Missouri, new evidence raises questions in child's sex assault

New evidence suggests a Missouri man may have been wrongly targeted in a child rape case for which he is serving four consecutive life terms.

Jeffery Allen Dickson was convicted of kidnapping, rape and other crimes in an April 2008 attack on a 7-year-old girl. The child testified that she was attacked in a house that burned.

But new evidence unearthed by Dickson's appeals attorney and reviewed as part of a five-month Associated Press investigation indicates police may have confused a house that burned the night the child was attacked with one that burned earlier.

Also, DNA evidence tying Dickson to the crime was tainted during testing in the state crime lab.

Public defender Valerie Leftwich is appealing Dickson's conviction. A hearing was set for Tuesday but has been delayed.

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