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Pair convicted in liquor store killing not entitled to DNA evidence

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Two men sentenced more than 20 years ago for murder and Class C felony attempted robbery were not improperly denied post-conviction relief when they couldn’t obtain DNA evidence they said would prove exculpatory, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday.

Wayne Superior Judge Gregory Horn denied a request for post-conviction relief for the two men convicted of killing Richmond liquor store owner David Hodson in September 1990. Hodson died a day after he was shot. In Lorenzo Reid and Larry Blake, a/k/a Larry Reid v. State of Indiana, 89A01-1208-PC-377,  the Court of Appeals affirmed the denial.

Lorenzo Reid was sentenced to 54 years in prison and Larry Blake was sentenced to 44 years for their involvement in the killing. A third person also was believed to be involved, but was never charged, and the defendants believe new DNA testing would reveal that person, as they claimed, committed the crime.

Reid and Blake sought post-conviction relief because they claimed the state failed to preserve or destroyed evidence that would have been exculpatory, an argument the court rejected.

“Appellants argue that their due process rights were violated as a result of the post-conviction loss or destruction of certain DNA evidence. The evidence was available for testing and was tested prior to trial. Appellants had access to the evidence as well as the test results prior to trial, and the results of these tests, which excluded Appellants as potential sources for the DNA, were admitted at trial,” Judge Cale Bradford wrote for the court.

“We conclude that … Appellants do not have a Due Process right to obtain post-conviction access to the State’s evidence for additional testing,” Bradford wrote.

"Even assuming that additional testing could result in finding a match of the DNA evidence obtained at the crime scene, such a discovery would only be potentially useful as it would likely only identify Appellants’ unknown accomplice and would not, in and of itself, prove that Appellants had not committed the crimes for which they were convicted."

The court also rejected arguments of ineffective counsel and that the state failed to disclose that a witness had a possible prior criminal conviction.

 

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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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