Why Jerry Conner did not participate in Clemency Proceedings today

Jerry Conner's attorneys did not attend the clemency hearing today. Read the explanation just posted over at jerryconner.blogspot.com



Here's the punchline: North Carolina is about to execute a man without bothering to do the DNA testing that could confirm his guilt beyond the shadow of doubt or, alternatively, establish his innocence.

Attorney General Roy Cooper has been ducking the issue, as far as I can tell, which will become a sharp-edged liability as he sets his sights on higher office. Should he decide to run for governor, I imagine he will have a very hard time explaining why he lacked the judgment to take that one extra step that would have put doubt to rest. If he doesn't have the judgment to do that, he certainly doesn't have the judgment to sit in the governor's mansion.


Read the facts of the case -- this guy confessed. And gave a very detailed version of events. And was ID'ed by multiple eyewitnesses as being the person they saw go into the convenience store with a shotgun. And claiming to them (the witnesses) to be law enforcement so that they would leave.

So that he could rob and murder one woman and then rape and murder her 16-year old daughter.


If you're really interested in the truth, check out the first section of the North Carolina Supreme Court's original opinion concerning Conner's murder trial: State v. Conner, 335 N.C. 618.

And ask yourself this: why has Conner only recently recanted his confession? When he failed to do so at his trial AND his two capital sentencing hearings?

Oh, and you might find this interesting, too: at his second capital sentencing hearing, his own psychiatric expert testified that Conner suffered from a mental disorder that "causes defendant to desire to have sexual intercourse with women against their will."

Sound like an innocent man to you?

What's that you say? That, if he's so guilty, why not agree to the DNA test? Because samples taken over a decade ago are never guaranteed to produce testable results. With such overwhelming evidence of guilt, why in the world should the state of North Carolina take the chance that an inconclusive test might create a miscarriage of justice -- to wit, Conner's evasion of the death penalty?

Listen, I'm a loyal Democrat and committed progressive, but I fail to understand the concern here. Those who are up in arms about this don't appear to have read the facts of this case. Read the Supreme Court decision and NOT just the propaganda over at this murderer's blog and then we can talk.

I've read the facts.

And the only new thing I learned from your comment is that DNA samples taken over a decade aga are never guaranteed to produce testable results. I've never seen that information before and it doesn't make sense to me, from my lay understanding of the science. If you have some evidence this is true, I'd like to see it. Otherwise, I stand by erring on the side of more than less certainty.

Perhaps my content was

Perhaps my content was inartfully worded, and for that I apologize. My concern was directed at the collection methodology employed as standard practice in the state back in 1990, and whether or not a sample collected under such an outdated methodology could be guaranteed to produce a testable result. I would argue that it cannot be guaranteed.

And if you've read the facts of the case, I'm still at a loss as to why you think this even matters. I can't envision a scenario in which some mystery rapist/murderer is responsible and Jerry Conner is simply an innocent bystander -- especially since his entire defense throughout his original trial and his two capital resentencing hearings was mitigation and NEVER actual innocence.

But I accept as a given your commitment to your position and your heartfelt belief that DNA would be a binary test of Conner's guilt or innocence. My experience has shown that, in contested criminal cases, this is rarely the case -- see O.J. Simpson, and probably the Duke lacrosse case. DNA is just another piece of evidence, and when collected under substandard conditions in old criminal cases, capital defenders are trying to capitalize on the fact that such results can be inconclusive.

Ken Rose and his organization are playing politics with Jerry Conner's life, not representing his interests. It's sad that they would refuse to attend his clemency hearing to score political points. With the guy's life on the line, why else would they NOT attend?

But, Sir or Madame,

Given a choice between what you can or can't imagine to be the case and the level of certainty offered by a DNA test, which would you choose? Which would you choose if the outcome decided between a week in Hawaii or a week with your in-laws?

Attending would be futile

The number sre something like 43 executed, 2 granted clemency under Easley. I have written him for almost every execution during the last year (pro-clemency) and never even get a response.

I think they are trying different approaches with this one and hopefully they work.