Cincinnati.com this morning (Dec. 18) carried an article about Kentucky State Sen. John Schickel's, speaking at a criminal law reform symposium last month at Northern Kentucky University, throwing his support behind legislation previously championed by liberals that would allow a Cincinnati man to proceed with DNA testing on evidence he claims will exonerate him of a 1987 rape and killing in Newport.
Schickel pre-filed legislation Dec. 14th. that would afford DNA testing to inmates like 60-year-old William Virgil, who is serving a 70-year sentence in LaGrange for the killing of VA Medical Center nurse Retha Welch; Rep. Johnny Bell, D-Glasgow, had filed similar legislation in the House earlier this month. DNA testing was not available at the time of Virgil’s conviction.
“Of the 49 states that have laws governing prisoners’ rights to DNA testing on evidence,” the article says, “Kentucky stands with only Alabama in permitting just those on death row to seek the testing, according to the Innocence Project, a New York nonprofit dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people. In neighboring Ohio and Indiana, any person convicted of a serious felony may apply for DNA testing of evidence.
The only state with no law addressing what has become known as post-conviction DNA testing is Oklahoma.