For Immediate Release
July 29, 2013
The Utah Attorney General’s Office is challenging the factual innocence claim made by an admitted murderer who enlisted help to cover up the crime scene. Jimmy Dean Meinhard is requesting post-conviction DNA testing to try and show he is factually innocent of the stabbing death of Ron Peterson.
On February 25, 1997, Meinhard was seen fighting with Peterson and getting in the victim’s car. Shortly after the fight another witness testified that Meinhard admitted to killing Peterson and was covered in blood. Days later the witness helped Meinhard use latex gloves and bleach to wipe the victim’s car of blood.
Meinhard told several others he stabbed Peterson to death and investigators found other physical evidence linking Meinhard to the murder. Meinhard was convicted of first degree murder and second degree evidence tampering and was ordered to serve consecutive terms of five-to-life and one-to-15 years in prison.
In his petition, Meinhard now claims he is innocent and the testing will show that his DNA will not be found under Peterson’s fingernails or on the outside door handle of the victim’s car.
Assistant Attorney General Andrew Peterson (no relation to the victim) filed a response opposing the testing because it will not offer any evidence about who committed the murder. “(Meinhard) cannot establish he is innocent by testing for DNA,” Peterson wrote. “The most that could be proved by DNA testing is that (Meinhard) did not touch the door handle with his bare hands and that Peterson did not scratch (him) during the murder.”
What: Post-conviction DNA petition hearing for Jimmy Dean Meinhard
Who: Assistant Attorney General Andrew Peterson
When: 10:00 a.m., Thursday, August 1, 2013
Where: Third District Judge L.A. Dever, Court S35, Matheson Courthouse, 450 S. State, Salt Lake City, Utah