Report says 1 in 19 million chance someone else was killer
Thursday, January 12, 2006; Posted: 5:17 p.m. EST (22:17 GMT)
RICHMOND, Virginia (AP) -- New DNA tests confirmed the guilt of a man who went to his death in Virginia's electric chair in 1992 proclaiming his innocence, the governor said Thursday.
The tests, ordered by Gov. Mark R. Warner earlier this month, prove Roger Keith Coleman was guilty of the 1981 rape and murder of his sister-in-law, Warner said.
Coleman was convicted and sentenced to death in 1982 for the murder of 19-year-old Wanda McCoy, his wife's sister. She was found raped, stabbed and nearly beheaded in her home in the coal mining town of Grundy.
Report: No conceivable doubt
The report from the Centre of Forensic Sciences in Toronto concluded there was almost no conceivable doubt that Coleman was the source of the sperm found in the victim.
"The probability that a randomly selected individual unrelated to Roger Coleman would coincidentally share the observed DNA profile is estimated to be 1 in 19 million," the report said.
Coleman's case drew international attention as the well-spoken inmate pleaded his case on talk shows and in magazines and newspapers. Time magazine featured the coal miner on its cover. Pope John Paul II tried to block the execution. Then-Gov. L. Douglas Wilder's office was flooded with thousands of calls and letters of protest from around the world.
Coleman's attorneys argued that he did not have time to commit the crime and that another man bragged about murdering her.
"An innocent man is going to be murdered tonight," the 33-year-old said moments before he was electrocuted on May 20, 1992. "When my innocence is proven, I hope America will realize the injustice of the death penalty as all other civilized countries have."
Supporter: 'A kick in the stomach'
James McCloskey, executive director of Centurion Ministries, had been fighting to prove Coleman's innocence since 1988. The two shared Coleman's final meal together -- cold slices of pizza -- just a few hours before Coleman was executed.
"I now know that I was wrong. Indeed, this is a bitter pill to swallow," McCloskey said in a statement, describing Thursday's findings as "a kick in the stomach."
Death penalty advocates welcomed the results. "Stop the presses -- it turns out that rapists and killers are also liars," Michael Paranzino, president of a group called Throw Away the Key, said in a statement.
Take that you buncha fruity hippies. I think that everyone who actually believed this bullshit should be dragged up on the public stage for a mea culpa to the victim's family and friends. These obnoxious, self-righteous fuckers have been going on forever about how they believed this psychopath was innocent despite the evidence. It's almost as bad as those OJ didn't do it people or idiots who go around wearing free mumia t-shirts.
It looks like the last little bit there really does sum up the whole thing. Raping murderers are often liarers too. Shocking. It's a good thing now we don't just follow the softbrained hippie example and take them at their word for it. What? You claim you're innocent? Well, shit. Get out of that cell then. We're sorry that we detained you.
I almost wish we could bring this schmuck back to life so I could kick him in the ribs a few times before we killed him again.