News&Observer: Put off some executions, DA agrees

“RALEIGH — The president of the N.C. Conference of District Attorneys said Monday that he supported a moratorium on the execution of any death-row inmates whose cases include evidence from the State Bureau of Investigations crime labs.

Seth Edwards, head of the organization of prosecutors and a district attorney in Eastern North Carolina, said he still had faith in the North Carolina justice system. But he acknowledged that some might have doubts after a recent blistering audit of the SBI’s blood analysis unit highlighted a common practice of withholding test results that might have helped defendants.

“Personally, I do feel like from a justice standpoint, we need to make sure the issues are resolved in the SBI crime lab,” Edwards said. “I just feel like the public right now is skeptical.”

Melvin White

“White’s case

“White, who was sentenced to death in 1996 for killing an elderly Craven County woman and her boyfriend, is seeking to have his death sentence converted to life without the possibility of parole.

White ended up on death row more than a decade before scientists and the courts began questioning the credibility of studying bullets and guns to solve crimes. All that linked the inmate to the slayings was a trail of bullets that stretched across the country and an SBI analyst’s word that they all came from a single gun.

White, throughout, has maintained his innocence. He was never found with a gun, and detectives never recovered any firearms in the case.

Though his lawyers have been working to win a new trial, using arguments that the science used to put the inmate on North Carolina’s death row is unreliable and potentially inaccurate, he has not been granted a hearing.”

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