Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner has a chance now to order a DNA test that could suggest strongly – many will say “prove” – that Roger Coleman was innocent of the 1981 rape-murder for which he was put to death in 1992.
Prosecutors said, and a jury agreed, that Coleman raped, stabbed and nearly beheaded Wanda McCoy, his wife’s sister. Defense attorneys said the semen of two men was found inside McCoy, and that it was doubtful either man was Coleman.
Warner has until Jan. 14, the end of his term, to order the DNA testing. If the analysis finds the semen was not Coleman’s, the opposition to capital punishment certainly will have a stronger argument.
Capital punishment debate. It’s wrong to kill even the killers whom you’ve captured and locked away. But I know there remains a debate over that. There’s no argument for state executions of the innocent.
Jan. 12, 2006, update: Coleman was guilty.