Nebraska court rejects inmate’s request for new murder trial

June 11, 2021 GMT

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A man serving a life sentence for murdering an Omaha woman in 1999 failed Friday to win a new trial despite his claims that follow-up DNA testing exonerated him.

The Nebraska Supreme Court upheld the first-degree murder conviction of Daryle Duncan. Duncan was convicted in 2001 of fatally stabbing of one of his neighbors, Lucille Bennett. He also was sentenced to up to 20 years in prison for use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony.

Duncan argued in his appeal that new DNA evidence found on two billfolds should have cleared his name.

A DNA analyst who reviewed the samples testified that, in both cases, it was likely that the samples were from someone other than Duncan. The analyst noted, however, that the level of DNA found was “very low” and said Duncan couldn’t be excluded as a possible contributor.

A district court judge denied Duncan’s motion for a new trial, ruling that the evidence wouldn’t have changed the outcome of his trial.

The DNA test was ordered because of a recent change in state law.