Jerry Connor Will Be DNA Tested

Local News | News for Charlotte, North Carolina | | North Carolina News:

The North Carolina Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed the execution of a condemned inmate to allow for additional DNA testing that he contended would prove his innocence. Jerry Wayne Conner, 40, was scheduled for execution at 2 a.m. Friday for the 1990 shotgun slayings of a Gates County store clerk Minh Rogers and her 16-year-old daughter, Linda, who was raped.

UPDATE: More information is promised on the Jerry Wayne Connor blog; there's a great pre-stay post by WillR at Concerned Citizen.



That's it. Just 'wow.'

I agree.

It's great news. Some people who claim to be well associated with the facts of the case have said that it's pretty clear that he's guilty. But even if that's true, I can't understand the argument against adding the level of certainty that a DNA test will provide.

If the argument is based on the delay in the process, I that that would be better leveled at the court, the DA, and the political officials who could have stepped in before today (the eve of the execution). If the argument is based on cost, I take serious issue with the proposition that the cost of a DNA test is greater than the cost of unnecessary certainty in the justice system, especially where the punishment is severe and final.

My thoughts exactly

I've never understood why not do the testing. Somebody came around here saying that testing old DNA wasn't reliable, but that sounded like bullshit. I asked him for some evidence that was true and never heard from him again.

Thanks for the recommendation...

I read recently that DNA had been sequenced from a 33,000 year old mammoth - setting the current record. I understand folk are working on dinosaur DNA (no, not Lost World) recovered from some soft tissue 70 million years old.

It's interesting that this week, Earl Washington (from Culpepper, VA) was awarded $2.25M for wrongful conviction.

urors awarded $2.25 million Friday to Earl Washington Jr., deciding that a State Police agent fabricated evidence and coached Washington’s confession that sent him to death row.

Washington, who turned 46 Wednesday, was convicted of the 1982 rape and murder of Rebecca Lynn Williams in Culpeper. In 2000, however, DNA evidence showed that Washington did not commit the crime. The DNA pointed to another man.

Virginian Pilot

This was an incredible story - mentally challenged individual, coerced into a confession, prosecution doing logical gymnastics, misconduct throughout and exonerating DNA.

More background here.

NC SBI mishandled lots of DNA evidence

Here important wrinkle in the Jerry Conner story:

The SBI agent in charge of handling, preparing and transmitting the 1991 DNA to the FBI was Brenda Bissette, an agent who was forced to resign from the SBI lab for mishandling DNA evidence in up to 50 cases. Although the SBI has agreed to conduct re-testing in “any case that Bissette handled,” the State is opposing Mr. Conner’s request. Jerry Conner has filed a motion over the objection of the prosecutors asking for a test that could demonstrate beyond any doubt, before he is executed, that he is innocent.


How many more innocent men and women are on NC death row?