South Dakota Supreme Court says inconclusive DNA evidence lacking in bid for new trial


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PIERRE, South Dakota — The South Dakota Supreme Court has affirmed a judge's decision that an inconclusive DNA analysis precludes a man serving a life sentence for murder from getting a new trial.

Attorney General Marty Jackley on Wednesday said the high court found that Judge Bruce Anderson's decision not to grant Lewis Ashker a new trial on his 1986 murder conviction is sound.

Ashker and Kurt Novaock, both of Wayne, Nebraska, were sentenced to life in prison in South Dakota for killing Jerry Plihal while trying to steal his gun collection.

Ashker requested that hairs found on the victim be tested using DNA technology that became available years after his conviction. Results from some of the samples were inconclusive, and Anderson didn't grant a new trial. Ashker then appealed to the Supreme Court.

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