Only two days before his scheduled execution (5/12/2006) North Carolina death row inmate Jerry Wayne Conner was given a reprieve by the state Supreme Court so that he could obtain DNA testing. The case marks the first time that the Supreme Court has ruled on a 2001 DNA statute allowing for post-conviction testing under some circumstances. The case is also important because the testing has been authorized even though Conner had confessed to murdering a mother and daughter in 1990. Many prosecutors argue that when a suspect has confessed, his identity was not an issue at trial, and therefore he should not be allowed to use the post-conviction statutes. Some courts have upheld these arguments which would mean that false confessors would be denied what may be the only vehicle to prove their confessions false and save their lives. In Conner's case, reason prevailed, the tests were ordered, and all now await the results to see if Conner will join the ranks of the wrongfully convicted or the ranks of the recently executed. Earlier this year, Governor Taft of Ohio granted a reprieve to John Spirko to enable him to obtain DNA testing of physical evidence left over from the 1982 murder of Betty Jane Mottenger in Elgin, Ohio. Spirko, who also claims that he falsely confessed (and there is strong evidence of this), has had his death sentence commuted twice and is now scheduled to die in mid-July. You'll hear more from me about this case as the events unfold.