Bid for DNA testing denied

Published 7:29 am Saturday, July 4, 2009

COURTLAND—A motion that would’ve allowed a man convicted of murdering a Newsoms woman in 1997 to have the state perform DNA testing on blood from the scene was denied by Judge Westbrook J. Parker in Southampton County Circuit Court on Tuesday.

Gary Ward was convicted by a Southampton County jury for the 1997 murder of Eunice Myrick. Ward maintained that he acted in self-defense and said that DNA testing of blood from the scene would prove that Myrick had stabbed him.

However, Southampton County Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Cooke said that there was a four-day jury trial, during which, Ward could’ve asked for DNA testing.

“This is not new evidence,” Cooke said. Even if the DNA testing is completed and some of the blood is found to be Ward’s, it still wouldn’t prove him innocent, according to Cooke.

Cooke and Parker also questioned the feasibility of even recovering DNA evidence from a 12-year-old crime scene.

Ward took the stand in court on Tuesday to testify after submitting a survey completed by one of the jurors in his trial that said the additional DNA evidence would have made a difference in the outcome.

However, Parker wasn’t convinced. “I don’t see that it would change the results of the case,” he said.

Ward is serving a 55-year sentence for the murder.