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State stays execution to do new DNA tests

North Carolina's top court has halted Friday's execution of condemned inmate Jerry Wayne Conner to allow for additional DNA testing.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The state Supreme Court has stayed Friday's execution of condemned inmate Jerry Wayne Conner to allow for additional DNA testing.

Defense lawyers asked for a new test, contending the procedures available today were better than available at the time of trial. A prosecutor had said the sample was degraded by heat, making earlier test results inconclusive.

The 40-year-old Conner was scheduled for execution at 2 a.m. Friday for the 1990 slayings of a Gates County store clerk and her 16-year-old daughter, who also was raped.

The defense said a new test on semen found in the rape victim could show that Conner's claim of innocence was valid despite two confessions to law enforcement. Defense lawyers argued that Conner was intimidated by officers and that police doubted some of what he said.