Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Friday, May 12, 2006
News and Observer's Board Editorial
Wednesday's ruling was a sensible and appropriate interpretation of the legislature's intent. A DNA test of a semen sample recovered from the teenage victim was ruled inconclusive 15 years ago. DNA testing has improved significantly in recent years, however. Both common sense and justice argue that if more advanced and accurate DNA testing is available, it must be used before the state ofRead the rest of the editorial posted here on the ncmoratorium website
executes someone. North Carolina
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
In the Supreme Court of North Carolina . . .
Defendant's motion for stay of execution is allowed. Defendant's petition for writ of certiorari is allowed for the limited purpose of reversing the trial court's denial of DNA testing and remanding this case to Gates County Superior Court for entry of an order requiring that biological evidence in the possession of the State be DNA tested pursuant to N.C.G.S. 15A-269.
With this order, the Gates County court's denial of a DNA test was vacated. Importantly, this Order indicates that the Supreme Court understands that the law means what it says -- that when DNA exists and is relevant to a case, it is the public policy of the State of North Carolina that it be tested.
(AP Photo/Jerry Wayne Conner's defense lawyers)
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
This one from the Asheville Citizen Times
North Carolina Needs a Death Penalty Moratorium and DNA Testing
The state refuses to test DNA evidence that could determine with certainty the guilt or innocence of Jerry Conner. Conner is scheduled for a May 12 execution at Central Prison even though doubt remains about his culpability. The courts are supposedly accountable to us, the good people of North Carolina. How many of us are willing to put some abstract rule of the court or the cost of running the tests above our need for the truth before the state kills a person in our name? Not me. Not most of us. In August of 1990, someone murdered Mihn Rogers and raped and murdered Linda Rogers. Jerry Conner was convicted of those horrible crimes. Sixteen years later and days from his execution, there is still doubt about his guilt. The system is too flawed to be trusted with life and death. Most of us don’t even trust the courts to fairly adjudicate our traffic tickets. Yet, for some reason, we trust the same system to be unerring in applying death as punishment.
That is plain foolish. We need a DNA test in this case and legislature should pass a moratorium on executions.
And this one publised in the News and Observer on May 5, 2006
Give him his DNA test
In the case of Jerry Conner, 40, scheduled for execution May 12, why not retest his DNA? (news story, May 3). In the last 16 years there have been significant changes in the test. In 1990, it took weeks to get the results back; now, it takes a day. Why deny this man the new, more accurate, test? Is the state so unsure of its justice system?
Instead of doing what's right, the state is relying, since the old test was inconclusive, on the confession of a borderline mentally retarded man, when there are cases of normally intelligent, but naive or young, people tricked into confessing crimes they didn't commit.
The Innocence Project reports that false confessions have been present in more than one in four DNA exonerations across the country. If North Carolina is no different, we all must doubt our justice system, and the state hiding the possible innocence of a condemned man just makes things worse.
M. B. Hardy
Friday, May 05, 2006
Amnesty International Calls for Action in Jerry Conner's Case
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Why Jerry Conner Did Not Seek Clemency Today
A pdf. is available here. To keep reading, click here.
Exonerating evidence discovered . . . but the defendant has already been executed!
Thursday, April 27, 2006
The President's $1 Billion Effort to Support DNA testing
DNA testing makes it possible to obtain conclusive results in cases in which previous testing had been inconclusive.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Jerry Conner hits the N&O's Op-Ed Page
There is still time for a DNA test prior to the May 12 execution. We the people need to demand that our elected officials do not carry out this execution without first having all the information that is available to them and in their control.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Conner asks the NC Supreme Court to Grant DNA Test
Jerry Conner's execution is scheduled for three weeks from today. There's still time to get results from a DNA test without delaying the execution.
Use the Take Action menu now. Both the Governor and the Attorney General have the power to allow for testing and prevent injury to the public's confidence in our criminal justice system.
Friday, April 07, 2006
Clarifying the News
The way the press has picked this up implies that the legal team is willing to wait until May 2nd. This misconception plays right into the idea that this is only an attempt to delay the executation. A central part of the effort to secure testing has always been, "do it now and nothing gets delayed."
46 Duke students can be tested in a week. How long could it take to do just one?
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Conner to Governor: Do a DNA Test Before Clemency Hearing UPDATED
April 5, 2006
Governor Michael F. Easley
Re: Jerry Conner
Dear Governor Easley:
We are writing on behalf of Mr. Conner in response to the scheduling letter issued by your office for clemency proceedings. Mr. Conner is scheduled to be executed by the State of
We believe that the prosecution has unreasonably opposed this testing and a Superior Court Judge has unfairly denied Mr. Conner access to the evidence for purposes of conducting the test. What is the harm in allowing a DNA test? We believe that this test will
Without a DNA test, we are unable to adequately present Mr. Conner’s case for clemency. Mr. Conner will not petition for clemency, nor will we appear on his behalf at a clemency hearing until a DNA test is conducted and the results are returned. We trust that as Governor you
Thank you for your consideration of this request.
Very truly yours,
Attorneys for Jerry Conner
Monday, April 03, 2006
Hear an Interview with Jerry Conner's Attorney
You'll notice a new feature on the sidebar of this site -- a list of other blogs that are covering Jerry's story. Some mainstream media has covered the case, including:
Friday, March 31, 2006
Inmate Scheduled for Execution May 12 Requests DNA Test to Demonstrate Innocence
Jerry Conner is scheduled to be executed on May 12. He professes his innocence of the murders, armed robbery and the rape for which he was convicted and sentenced to die. The State’s theory was that only one person committed all these crimes. DNA results, if favorable, will conclusively answer the question of whether Mr. Conner is innocent of the rape of Linda Rogers, and consequently innocent of the murders and armed robbery.
Prior DNA testing conducted by the FBI was inconclusive. DNA testing has improved to such an extent that we can now identify the contributor of the semen. According to
The other evidence in the case is unreliable. Although Mr. Conner “confessed” his involvement in these crimes at the time of his arrest, his statements to the police were taken under the threat of the death penalty and were marred by internal inconsistencies. Although many find it difficult to imagine how someone could admit to a crime they did not commit, the Innocence Project reports that false confessions have been present in more than 1 in 4 DNA exonerations that have occurred across the country.
The State of North Carolina opposes DNA testing. 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. Without this test, the State of North Carolina risks the execution of an innocent man. If instead of opposing and obstructing this testing the State were to consent to testing, the results of the test will be completed well ahead of Mr. Conner’s May 12 execution date.
For more information, contact attorneys for Jerry Conner:
Ken Rose or Mark Kleinschmidt, Center for Death Penalty Litigation, (919) 956-9545
Monday, March 27, 2006
DNA Testing Denied
Saturday, March 25, 2006
Even a Wake Co. Assistant DA agrees that
Read or watch the WRAL coverage here
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
So why won't they do re-testing for Jerry?
Here's some of the press coverage. The SBI told the Winston-Salem Journal they would "redo DNA testing in any case that Bissette handled, if requested by the prosecuting or defense attorney."