Arkansas Woman Who Served 26 Years in Prison After Being Convicted of Murder as a Teen Fights to Clear Her Name

Faye Jacobs | Credit: Courtesy Midwest Innocence Project

As a teenager growing up in Little Rock, Ark., Laquanda “Faye” Jacobs worked at Burger King, sang in the church choir and looked forward to college and a career beyond. But as the youngest in a blended family with 12 kids, one dream ranked above all others — to have a baby of her own one day.

It’s a dream she birthed as a girl combing her Barbie doll’s hair. “It’s something I’ve always wanted,” she says. “I couldn’t wait to get older to have someone to love me, someone I can love and call my own. That’s what motherhood is for me.”

That dream was suddenly shattered when Jacobs, at 16, was arrested and later convicted for a crime that she and others insist she did not commit: the 1992 shooting murder of a former elementary school classmate, 17-year-old Kevin Gaddy.

Her nightmare began on Feb. 9, 1992, when Jacobs was driving with her mother near 29th and Jefferson streets in Little Rock and they stopped to check out a commotion. On the spot an officer asked Jacobs her name, then handcuffed her and took her to the police station. A test for gun residue on her hands was negative. But nine days later she was charged with killing Gaddy, allegedly because she wanted his Chicago Bulls jacket.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Jacobs tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: PEOPLE, Jeff Truesdell