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DNA tests reconfirm guilt in Virginia murder

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Convicted killer's attorneys to ask federal court to stop Virginia execution
  BURDEN OF PROOF
DNA testing in U.S. death row cases

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Death Penalty and DNA
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RICHMOND, Virginia (CNN) -- DNA test results confirmed a death-row inmate's guilt in the rape and murder of his girlfriend, Virginia Gov. James Gilmore said Monday.

Gilmore's office released the test results Monday confirming that DNA underneath Sarah Wisnosky's fingernails matched that of Derek Barnabei, a death-row inmate found guilty of the 1993 bludgeoning death of Wisnosky, his 17-year-old girlfriend.

The tests, undertaken by the state's division of forensic science, "reveal that Ms. Wisnosky's fingernails contained her own DNA and the DNA of one other person," Gilmore said in a statement. A search through the Commonwealth's DNA data bank "revealed a positive match with one and only one individual -- Derek Rocco Barnabei."

The result confirms Barnabei "is guilty of the rape and murder of Sarah Wisnosky and vindicates the jury's verdict, as well as the numerous appellate court rulings upholding the jury," the statement said.

Before the test results were released Monday, Barnabei's brother, Craig, said a DNA match would not persuade him his brother is guilty.

"That means that they didn't do enough testing, they are not testing the vaginal swabs," he told CNN's Burden of Proof.

But the results proved sufficient for Gilmore.

"Based upon a thorough review of the DNA test results confirming Barnabei's guilt, the numerous court decisions in this case, and the circumstances of this matter, I decline to intervene in the case of Derek Rocco Barnabei," Gilmore said.



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