Man convicted of murders asks for retrial based on DNA test

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A Rapid City man convicted of murdering his wife and mother-in-law in 1983 will argue before a South Dakota judge that he should be granted a new criminal trial based on DNA testing.

The Rapid City Journal reports that George Luna, 71, has maintained that he is innocent of killing his wife, Lynn Luna, and mother-in-law, Helen Thomas. They were both beaten to death in Rapid City. George Luna is serving two life sentences after a Pennington County jury found him guilty of murdering them.

George Luna has been granted a civil habeas corpus trial, where his lawyers will argue that DNA testing performed by the Minnesota Innocence Project in 2016 shows hairs found in Lynn Luna’s hand could have belonged to another suspect in the case, but not George Luna. If the judge decides that the new evidence changes the case so much that original jurors would not have convicted Luna, he will be given a new criminal trial.

South Dakota has not exonerated anyone based on DNA evidence, according to The National Registry of Exonerations. The three-day trial is expected to begin in March.