1986 Murder Conviction Upheld

1986 Murder Conviction Upheld


MITCHELL, S.D. (AP) — A man convicted of a 1985 murder in South Dakota won’t get a new trial, despite new DNA evidence that concluded he wasn’t the source of two hair samples taken from the victim.

Judge Bruce Anderson has ruled that nothing in the DNA evidence exonerates Lewis Ashker. The judge also says DNA evidence must be considered with the other evidence in the case.

Ashker and Kurt Novaock, both of Wayne, Neb., were sentenced to life in prison for killing Jerry Plihal while trying to steal his gun collection. Authorities said Plihal was stabbed 21 times.

Ashker requested the hairs be tested using DNA technology that became available a few years ago. When the results came back he asked Anderson to overturn his 1986 conviction.

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