But again, other witnesses testified that Brewer looked frantically for the child for hours with a team of neighbors. Allgood said that even after Brewer's DNA was shown not to be a match to DNA from the Jackson rape kit, he still believed Brewer was somehow involved in the abduction and murder. That prompted Allgood to announce he'd retry the capital murder case against Brewer, a first in Mississippi prosecutorial history.
"I honestly believed [Brewer] was involved because I couldn't [otherwise] get that girl out of that locked house," Allgood said.
But during the same investigation, another man, Justin Albert Johnson, 51, a local man with a known history of sexual abuse, was questioned and volunteered his DNA, according to lawyers involved in the case. That DNA was not tested until Innocence Project lawyers acquired and tested it and informed the state Attorney General's office that it, in fact, matched the DNA from semen in the Jackson rape kit.
In the Courtney Smith murder case, Allgood said, Brooks was identified by a young witness.
"On the Brooks case, a six-year-old sister of Courtney Smith is awakened in the middle of the night and treated to the sight of the suspect picking up her sister Courtney and walking out the door.'' Allgood said the sister later identified the man by his street name, Tytee. Prosecutors took that to mean Brooks, who Allgood said went by that name. Like Brewer, Brooks had previously dated the victim's mother.
Allgood said that when Smith's body was found, "there are marks on her."
"The pathologist [medical examiner Stephen Hayne] says, 'gee, these might be bite marks. West says these match the marks of Levon Brooks. You've got the identification [by the sister] and the identification of the bite marks. A grand jury indicts, a jury convicts, and the district court affirms the conviction."
Allgood said that during the trials of Brewer and Brooks in the early 1990s, West's reputation was intact.
"At the time he was sitting on top of the world,'' Allgood said. "He was lecturing in China. He was lecturing in England."
"Nobody wants to put the wrong guy in jail,'' Allgood concluded, though adding that he still believes that Brewer "had a hand'' in Jackson's abduction.
But Neufeld doesn't buy Allgood's arguments.
"What kind of morons, in a small, rural county, see two 3-year old girls abducted, raped and murdered, who wouldn't think, 'maybe the same guy did both of these crimes?'''
ABC News' Rana Senol contributed to this report.