Thursday, April 5, 2012
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Dougherty County Superior Court is in recess while defense lawyers contact death row inmate Marcus Ray Johnson about items that may be tested with modern forensics in the 1994 murder case. Johnson was convicted in 1998 of murdering Angela Sizemore, who was raped and tortured in the slaying.
ALBANY District Attorney Greg Edwards has agreed to forensic testing of bra and pants, along with fingernail clippings and hair of victim Angela Sizemore, in a hearing today for death row inmate Marcus Ray Johnson.
Sizemore was tortured, raped and murdered in 1994. Johnson was tried and convicted of the murder in 1998 and was sentenced to death by lethal injection.
Johnson’s execution was delayed last year when he asked for evidence to be tested by methods that were not available in the 1990s.
Edwards told Chief Superior Court Judge Willie Lockette Thursday morning at an evidentiary hearing, that the state had agreed to the testing because “the state believes that these items will further inculpate the defendant relative to this case.”
Less that 36 hours before Johnson was set to be executed, Lockette stayed Johnson’s execution so that testing could be considered by the court. Edwards then sent an assistant district attorney to Atlanta to file an appeal of Lockette’s order with the Georgia Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court upheld Lockette’s decision and a hearing was set for early this year. That hearing was delayed until Thursday.
Johnson’s attorneys argued successfully that the evidence currently in possession of the state hadn’t been properly tested, nor had it been tested using today’s sophisticated scientific methods such as “touch DNA.”
The evidence will now be taken to a lab in Virginia where extensive testing could be done.