Oregon murder case shows obstacles to DNA testing

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Nearly two decades after a woman was killed in Salem, Oregon, lawyers for the man convicted of murdering her have asked a judge to allow DNA testing of crime-scene evidence.

They say the tests could lead to the real killer and exonerate Jesse Johnson. But the judge says he must study whether he can authorize the testing.

The case shows that while DNA tests have set free many wrongly convicted people, getting authorization for them to be carried out can be challenging.

Johnson was convicted of aggravated murder and sentenced to death after he was accused of fatally stabbing Harriet Thompson in her apartment.

He repeatedly said he was innocent. His DNA wasn’t on any of the tested murder evidence and he refused a plea deal.