New Hampshire judge denies inmate DNA testing


Robert Breest was convicted of a 1971 murder in New Hampshire and has always maintained his innocence. Three rounds of DNA testing have been conducted in Breest’s case, and all have been inconclusive. One test showed that Breest – and one in 10 white males – would match material under the victim’s fingernails.

Breest’s appeals for further DNA testing using newly developed technology have been denied since 2004. A recent ruling was the latest roadblock for Breest. A Merrimack County (NH) judge ruled that: “Mr. Breest’s previous access to the evidence distinguishes his case from others by highlighting the due process he has received…”

The judge said that the jury in 1973 convicted Breest based on strong evidence – including fibers from the victim’s fur coat allegedly found in Breest’s car, jailhouse snitch testimony, and an eyewitness who said the perpetrator and Breest has the same “build.”

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. (Concord Monitor, 07/31/07)

Breest still has hope for DNA testing, however, in federal court. The Innocence Project is consulting on federal appeals, along with attorney Ian Dumain (a former Innocence Project clinic student while at Cardozo School of Law) of Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP. Earlier this year, a federal magistrate judge ruled that Breest should have access to DNA testing, and the state appealed the decision. A final ruling is pending.

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