A convicted murderer from Portage County may get another chance to prove his innocence.
It's all about whose DNA was left on a cigarette butt found at Bearnhardt and Cora Hartig's home, where they were murdered in 1990. It was established during the investigation that the DNA belonged to neither Tyone Noling, the man who was sentenced to death, nor to any other suspects. Noling contends that newer DNA testing would help to identify a new suspect and lead police to the real killer.
The judge denied the request because state law prohibited postconviction testing on evidence that was already considered "definitive." The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the trial court needs to take a second look using newer laws, specifically the one passed in 2010 that deals with DNA testing.
The case was accepted by the Ohio Supreme Court without it being offered to a district appeals court because of a law that allows such a bypass for certain components of death penalty cases.
It was a 5-2 decision, with dissenters suggesting that the case should have followed traditional legal channels.