Updates: Prison video still sought 

DNA tests come back
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DNA tests come back

NUVO Seeks Prison Video

Last week, NUVO filed suit in Marion County Circuit Court seeking access to Indiana Department of Correction videotapes that depict the Dec. 4, 2002, encounter between Miami Correctional Facility inmate Angel Oquendo and correction officers. According to Department of Correction officials, the tapes depict the officers subduing Oquendo immediately preceding the inmate’s death by asphyxiation (“Homicide,” Dec. 3-10, 2003). On Dec. 8, Indiana Public Access counselor Michael A. Hurst issued an advisory opinion that the Department of Correction’s statement of security concerns justified the agency denying NUVO’s request for access to the videotapes. Pursuant to the Indiana Access to Public Records Act, NUVO then filed its court complaint on Dec. 11. No date for a court hearing has been set.

DNA news for Darnell Williams

News reports say that DNA tests on the clothing of death row inmate Darnell Williams failed to show blood stains came from either of the victims of the double murder for which he was convicted. The late Gov. Frank O’Bannon ordered a reprieve of Williams’ scheduled Aug. 1 execution to await the results of the tests (“Running Out of Time,” July 23-30, 2003). Williams was convicted for the 1986 deaths of Gary residents John and Henrietta Rease, but maintains he did not do the shooting. The jury was told bloodstains on Williams’ pants at the time of his arrests matched the blood of Mrs. Rease, evidence that one of the jurors and the prosecutor say was key to the death sentence being imposed. Williams’ lawyers questioned the accuracy of the blood reports, leading to the recent DNA test that reportedly did not support the prosecution’s contentions at trial. Gov. Joe Kernan has not announced how he will proceed on Williams’ pending execution.

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