The Ohio Supreme Court will hear an appeal from death row inmate Tyrone Noling, whose attorneys say he was wrongfully convicted of a double-murder in 1996.
Noling is challenging a law which blocks Ohio defendants in capital cases from appealing a trial judge’s decision on post-conviction DNA testing. The defendant is only allowed an appeal in these cases at the discretion of the Supreme Court, which only considers a small percentage of these cases. Noling’s attorneys say this law violates protections guaranteed under the Eighth and Fourteenth amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
Noling was convicted of shooting Bearnhardt and Cora Hartig to death in their home in 1990. No evidence linked Noling or his codefendants to the scene and DNA testing performed on a cigarette butt found at the crime scene excluded him. According to the
, key witnesses in the case have recanted since the trial and new forensic evidence and witness testimony has been unearthed which points to another suspect.
Carrie Wood, a lawyer with the Ohio Public Defender’s office, told the
that DNA testing of newly discovered evidence from the crime scene could possibly exonerate Noling.
“Ohio must do everything in its power to be sure it does not execute an innocent man,” Wood told the
. “The gaps in Ohio’s appeals process must be fixed. . . . Giving individuals whose lives are at stake less court review is nonsensical as well as patently unconstitutional.”
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