Judge to review DNA request
A judge will decide whether to permit DNA testing in the case of a man who was convicted more than 10 years ago of robbing and raping a woman at a Lansing convenience store.
Gregory Mark George Jr. did not appear in court Friday for a status hearing. But attorneys appeared on his behalf in Leavenworth County District Court.
George, 39, is serving a prison sentence for charges of rape, aggravated robbery and aggravated intimidation of a witness.
The charges stemmed from a 2004 robbery of Lansing convenience store. George, who was living in Kansas City, Kansas, at the time of the incident, was convicted of raping a clerk during the robbery.
An initial trial ended in a mistrial before George was convicted in 2006. At the time, he also was convicted of a kidnapping charge. But the conviction for this charge was reversed in 2010 by the Kansas Court of Appeals, and he was re-sentenced, according to court documents.
In 2013, George filed a petition for DNA testing of hairs that were collected as part of his case but never tested.
In June, the Kansas Supreme Court reversed earlier rulings by a district judge and the Kansas Court of Appeals that denied the petition.
The Kansas Supreme Court remanded the case back to Leavenworth County District Court, asking a district judge to review a stipulation regarding DNA evidence that was used during George’s second trial. A district judge also has been asked to make a determination whether the requested testing may produce noncumulative, exculpatory evidence that could be helpful in exonerating George.
District Judge Michael Gibbens presided over Friday’s status hearing. Gibbens has taken over the case following the recent retirement of another judge.
Alice Craig, one of the attorneys representing George, suggested further DNA testing in the case could show that another perpetrator was present when the crime was committed.
Gibbens said he will ask his assistant to find a copy of the stipulation regarding DNA evidence in the case that was used during the trial.
“I guess I need to see the exact stipulation,” he said.
Gibbens said he would like George to be transported to the Justice Center in Leavenworth for the next hearing.
A Kansas Department of Corrections website indicates George is currently housed at the Lansing Correctional Facility. His earliest possible release date is Aug. 19, 2052.
Gibbens did not schedule another hearing. But he asked George’s attorneys to submit written arguments within three weeks.
County Attorney Todd Thompson then will have an opportunity to file a response.
Court documents indicate George’s attorneys are with the Paul E. Wilson Project for Innocence and Post-Conviction Remedies, which is a program of the University of Kansas School of Law.