Thursday, January 12, 2006

Anti-death penalty crowd dealt a blow

On the heels of the infamous Tooki Williams case comes another blow for the anti-death penalty crowd. Today DNA testing proved "there was almost no conceivable doubt that Coleman was the source of the sperm found in the victim."

Some background:
this is from death penalty information center

"Virginia Governor Mark Warner has ordered DNA evidence retested to determine whether Roger Keith Coleman, who was executed in 1992, was actually innocent. Warner said he ordered the tests because of technological advances that could prove a level of certainty that was not available at the time of Coleman's execution.

Since his execution, Coleman's case has generated a great deal of national and international attention. After the Virginia Supreme Court denied a request for new DNA testing made in 2002 by four newspapers and Centurian Ministries, a New Jersey-based group that investigates claims of innocence, a number of requests for new DNA tests were directed to Governor Warner. If the testing shows Coleman did not commit the crime for which he was executed, it would be the first time in the United States that a person was exonerated by scientific testing after his execution."

And this from FOXNEWS today:
DNA Tests Confirm Guilt of Executed Man

"The case had been closely watched by both sides in the death penalty debate because no executed convict in the United States has ever been exonerated by scientific testing.
The tests, ordered by the governor last month, prove Roger Keith Coleman was guilty of the 1981 rape and murder of his sister-in-law, Gov. Mark R. Warner's spokeswoman Ellen Qualls said.

The report from the Centre of Forensic Sciences in Toronto concluded there was almost no conceivable doubt that Coleman was the source of the sperm found in the victim.

"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," the report said."

It went on to say:

"A finding of innocence would have been explosive news and almost certainly would have had a powerful effect on the public's attitude toward capital punishment. Death penalty opponents have argued for years that the risk of a grave and irreversible mistake by the criminal justice system is too great to allow capital punishment.

"We have sought the truth using DNA technology not available at the time the commonwealth carried out the ultimate criminal sanction," Warner said in a statement. "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."

I realize this was to be the "See I Told You So" moment for the anti-death penalty folks but I'm personally happy with this outcome. It shows that the system, as flawed as it may be, works!

And to think TIME Magazine put this slime on its cover.

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