DNA Tests Fail To Reprieve Texan

Wednesday, July 12th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — New DNA tests have failed to clear a Texas inmate given a reprieve by Gov. George W. Bush last month just minutes before he was to be executed on rape and murder convictions, USA Today reported.

The way Bush has dealt with the death penalty in two terms as Texas governor has been a campaign issue as he awaits formal nomination next month as the Republican candidate for president.

The paper reported in Wednesday's editions that sources close to the case told it that recent tests by the FBI point to Ricky McGinn or a maternal relative as the source of a pubic hair found inside the body of Stephanie Flanary, 12, the convicted man's stepdaughter.

The paper noted that no member of McGinn's family has been linked to the case.

He was facing execution the night of June 1 after being convicted in 1995 of raping and killing the girl an exhausting all appeals. But Bush granted a reprieve less than 30 minutes before the scheduled execution to allow time for DNA testing.

McGinn, 43, and his attorneys wanted additional DNA testing, which they hoped would exonerate him. Although DNA evidence was used by prosecutors to help convict McGinn of the May 1993 rape and ax slaying of the girl, his lawyers contended more sophisticated testing now available would help his case.

They argued that new DNA tests proving the hair was not McGinn's would show he did not rape the girl. Without rape as an aggravating circumstance of the slaying, McGinn would not be subject to the death penalty on the murder conviction.

USA Today said the new McGinn tests were completed last month and filed with Stephen Ellis, a judge in Brown County, Texas, where the crime occurred.

It said a second set of tests being done by other labs could rule out McGinn as the source of semen left at the crime scene, but quoted sources close to the case as saying that appeared unlikely.

If Ellis decides the tests do not exonerate McGinn, he could set a new execution date. The judge is schedule to rule sometime after Aug. 15.

USA Today said an FBI spokesman declines to comment on the case and that Bush spokeswoman Linda Edwards said there would be no comment from the governor while ``the matter is before the courts.''