NH1 Investigates: Not Guilty? Part 2 - Victim's sister breaks her silence
MANCHESTER - It's a case that made headlines here in New Hampshire in the early 1970's.
A jury convicting a man for the murder of a Manchester woman.
And today, that man, Robert Breest, still claims his innocence.
But a new DNA test could lead to a new trial.
But the victim's sister is now speaking out exclusively to NH1 saying she is confident that will not happen.
Sally Hembree says there's no question Breest killed her sister and says there's a reason Breest actually wants to stay behind bars.
It was a story that gripped the state and came to an end when the jury reached its verdict on March 22, 1973.
Breest was found guilty in the murder of Susan "Suzy" Randall.
"It's been a lifetime of agony," says Sally Hembree, Suzy's sister. "I can't have any pictures around because I can't look at them."
In her Manchester home where she's lived for years, Hembree says she's collected every newspaper clipping, court documents, anything that she could get her hands on in connection with her sister's case.
After all, she says, Suzy was her only sister.
Randall's bound was found badly beaten and naked from the waist down on the frozen Merrimack River in Concord two days after she disappeared back in 1971.
Ever since his arrest, Breest has never wavered saying he had nothing to do with it.
We asked Hembree what she thought of his claims of innocence to which she answered, "No. Absolutely not.... Because I know, I know in my heart. I know in my mind. There's no doubt. No doubt."
When asked why Hembree thought that Breest would maintain his innocence so long, she said, "I think he's where he wants to be."
When asked if she thought he wanted to be in jail, Hembree said, "Yes. He has to."
As for the case itself, the state would spend months putting it together.
Evidence included Suzy's hair found in Breest's car, her blood on his boots, his DNA underneath her fingernails, and another inmate coming forward saying that Breest had confided in him that he had indeed killed Randall.
But even with all that evidence, Breest's wife maintains that her husband is innocent.
"I never believed he would be found guilty because he wasn't," said Carol Breest.
When asked if she ever had the slightest doubt in her mind about her husband's claim of innocence, she said "no' several times.
Breest's attorney, Buzz Scheer, says back then that the evidence in the case looked strong but claims it would not hold up in court today.
One reason, Scheer says, is that the latest DNA test which, for the first time, shows something very different.
"There is DNA present from two different males under her fingernails," said Scheer.
That means DNA from another man and not just Breest meaning whoever that man is could have committed the crime."
But what we know from that is that she was involved in a violent struggle with two males," Scheer said. "He didn't get a fair trial based on the newly discovered evidence. Based on the new DNA evidence, the state's theory of the case at the trial was wrong."
When we asked the victim's sister, Sally Hembree, about the new test which shows the presence of another man's DNA, she said, "I don't care if they found 7 other DNA's. Does that make him not guilty? No."
She added, "I can go like this to you and get DNA off of you. It doesn't mean a thing."
But it does mean a thing to Hembree and that her sister's killer remains behind bars regardless of what might happen in court.
When asked what she wanted done after all these years, Hembree said, "What do I want done to him? I don't think you really want me to tell you that."
When asked if she wanted him to stay behind bars or die behind bars? She quickly answered, "Absolutely. That's exactly what I want him to do - is die behind bars."
In addition to the Randall murder, officials had also singled out Breest in two other cases right around the time he murdered Suzy Randall.
First, in the disappearance of his one-time fiancée, Luella Blakeslee of Hooksett. To this day, that case remains as an unsolved murder.
Second, nearly two years before that, officials charged Breest with raping a woman visiting New Hampshire from France. The charge was later dropped after the woman refused to testify.