WICHITA, Kan. – A Sedgwick County judge is deciding whether an independent expert will be allowed in a room for DNA testing in regards to a double-murder.
Tony Bluml, Kisha Schaberg, Drew Ellington and Braden Smith are charged with killing Roger and Melissa Bluml during a robbery attempt in November. The Blumls were found suffering from gunshot wounds. Melissa died that night, Roger passed away from his injuries Dec. 23.
The four face capital murder charges.
The DNA testing has been put on hold because the judge has said there is not enough DNA for a second defense test. During a hearing last month, the judge ordered a video camera to be put in the DNA testing room. But now the judge said cameras are not feasible.
“If the prosecution can’t give the accused the second test that they’re entitled to, then the accused is entitled to the next best thing: An independent expert being present or videotaping of the prosecution’s one-sided test,” said local defense attorney Dan Monnat.
According to Monnat, cross-checking DNA is a tool to protect the innocent.
“It is not too much to ask where an accused individual’s life is on the line,” Monnat said. “If the testing is flawed or misreported, it can just as powerfully convict the innocent.”
Marc Bennett, Sedgwick County District Attorney, said allowing a defense expert in the DNA testing room could set a new precedent for Kansas.
KWCH TV – by Jade DeGood