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DNA Won't Help NC Death Row Defendant

Jerry Wayne Conner is sentenced to death for the murder of a store clerk and the rape and murder of her daughter in 1990.

Gatesville, NC --A judge ruled Monday that results of a DNA test for death row inmate Jerry Wayne Conner won't help him stay out of the death chamber. Gates County Superior Court Judge Richard Parker ruled that results of the new test were unfavorable to Conner. The decision came after an hour-long hearing. An execution date has not been set. Conner was sentenced to death for the 1990 shotgun slayings of Gates County store clerk Minh Rogers and her 16-year-old daughter, Linda, who was raped. The state Supreme Court halted the execution scheduled for May 12 so a DNA test requested by the defense could be performed. If the judge had ruled the results were favorable to Conner, state law would have allowed his lawyers to ask the judge to throw out the conviction, release Conner or order a new trial or sentencing. An August 14 report from the testing company, LabCorp, said one sample from the rape victim had a similar genetic marker as Conner. "Jerry Conner and his relatives cannot be excluded as the source of the male DNA in this sample," the report said. Defense lawyers said the report showed there was doubt that Conner committed the crime. District Attorney Frank Parrish said there was enough evidence without DNA, including a confession, to convict and execute Conner.