Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Dear Editor:

Some recent letters-to-the-editor found in NC newspapers:

This one from the Asheville Citizen Times

North Carolina Needs a Death Penalty Moratorium and DNA Testing

by Ian McGregor
published May 9, 2006 12:15 am

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.

Ian McGregor


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



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