Arkansas court denies death row inmate's bid for DNA testing

An Arkansas death row inmate spared from execution two years has been denied a request to test additional evidence that his attorneys say could exonerate him

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a death row inmate who was spared from execution two years ago is not entitled to new DNA testing of evidence that his attorneys say could exonerate him.

In a 5-2 ruling, justices upheld a lower court ruling denying convicted murderer Stacey Johnson's request for additional testing of evidence from the 1993 killing of Carol Heath.

Johnson's attorneys argued that there were major limitations in DNA testing when Johnson was convicted of killing Heath. The items they want tested include the rape kit and a towel that was found at the scene.

Johnson was one of eight inmates Arkansas sought to execute over an 11-day period in 2017 before its supply of a lethal injection drug expired. Johnson and three other inmates were spared by the courts and Arkansas ultimately put the other four men to death.

Arkansas doesn’t have any executions scheduled. The last of the state’s lethal injection drugs expired in January and the state has not replaced them.