Utah AG Office Press Room

JUDGE DENIES FACTUAL INNOCENCE CLAIM OF ADMITTED MURDERER

For Immediate Release
September 30, 2013

 

A judge has denied the request of an admitted murderer to get DNA testing to try and show he is factually innocent. Third District Court Judge L.A. Dever ruled today that Jimmy Dean Meinhard’s request to have DNA tests on blood and fingernails and to examine fingerprints on the victim’s car.

 

During a hearing on August 1, Assistant Attorney General Andrew Peterson argued against the testing because it would not offer any evidence about who committed the murder. Judge Dever agreed and ruled the law requires that testing can only be done if it will produce new evidence that establishes factual innocence.

 

On February 25, 1997, Meinhard was seen fighting with Ron Peterson and getting in the victim’s car. Shortly after the fight another witness testified 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 was sentenced to one-to15-years in prison after he was convicted of first-degree murder and a second-degree count of evidence tampering.

 

In today’s ruling, Judge Dever wrote the “claim of a potential of the existence of DNA from the fingernail clippings is nothing more than a strained speculation of events.” Specifically, the judge rejected Meinhard’s argument that the presence of knife wounds to Peterson’s hands suggests that the killer’s DNA should be found under Peterson’s fingernails.

Judge Dever also said Meinhard’s claim that the fingerprint would identify the “killer” was also based “clear speculation” and would only “muddy” his own claims.

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