The Pennsylvania Superior Court this month granted DNA tests that could prove the innocence of a man who has spent more than two decades in prison for a murder he says he didn’t commit. Innocence Project client Robert Conway has long sought access to DNA testing on key evidence from the scene of a 1986 stabbing murder in Norristown, Pennsylvania. On January 11, a panel of Superior Court judges granted him access to testing, overturning a 2009 decision by a lower court.
Innocence Project Staff Attorney Craig Cooley and Pennsylvania attorney Steven F. Fairlie have argued that DNA tests on evidence from the crime scene could exonerate Conway and point to the real perpetrator of the crime.
“What’s the harm in testing? If he did it, this may confirm that he did it, and if he didn’t do it, let’s find out who did and let Robert Conway go. Who could argue with any of that?” Fairlie told
. Conway has always maintained that he discovered the victim stabbed to death when he visited her surgical supply store to buy a cane for his wife. Prosecutors have argued on appeal that he shouldn’t get DNA tests because the biological evidence could have been contaminated by other people handling it and because of other evidence against Conway, including the testimony of a jailhouse informant, scratches on Conway’s arms, and his alleged knowledge of undisclosed crime scene details — all forms of evidence that have been disproved again and again in DNA exoneration cases.
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