Thursday, January 12, 2006

Roger Keith Coleman Update.

DNA Tests Confirm Coleman's Guilt. is reporting that a spokewsoman for the governor of Virginia has said that "[n]ew DNA tests confirmed the guilt of a man who went to his death in Virginia's electric chair in 1992 proclaiming his innocence."

I earlier posted about this HERE. The case has been closely watched by both sides in the death penalty debate.

The governor's spokesperson is reporting today that the new DNA tests confirmed the earlier results placing Coleman within a 0.2 percent of the population group who could have produced semen found at the crime scene.

I'm sure there will be more on this, and I'll update if/when I see something new.

**UPDATES: January 13, 2006:

Governor's Press Release. An excerpt:

“The probability that a randomly selected individual unrelated to Roger Coleman would coincidentally share the observed DNA profile is estimated to be 1 in 19 million.”

“We have sought the truth using DNA technology not available at the time the Commonwealth carried out the ultimate criminal sanction,” said Governor Warner. “The confirmation that Roger Coleman’s DNA was present reaffirms the verdict and the sanction. Again, my prayers are with the family of Wanda McCoy at this time.”

Talkleft post on the news, including comments from the Innocence Project and Amnesty International, both commending the Virginia Governor for furthering the search for the truth, even though it turned out that Coleman was, in fact, guilty.

Yahoo News story. Key excerpts:

James McCloskey, executive director of Centurion Ministries, had been fighting to prove Coleman's innocence since 1988. The two shared Coleman's final meal together — cold slices of pizza — just a few hours before Coleman was executed.

"I now know that I was wrong. Indeed, this is a bitter pill to swallow," McCloskey said, describing Thursday's findings as "a kick in the stomach" and adding that he felt betrayed by Coleman.

Death penalty proponents welcomed the results. "Stop the presses — it turns out that rapists and killers are also liars," Michael Paranzino, president of a group called Throw Away the Key, said in a statement.

Death penalty opponents praised Warner's decision to order the testing but warned that Coleman's case does not mean the death penalty is infallible.


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