Saturday, July 24, 2004

DNA tests ordered in slaying

Hat, rag examined in teen's '97 death

The Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A judge has ordered DNA testing in the 1997 slaying of a Louisville teen allegedly shot for his tennis shoes.

One of the men convicted in the killing said the test results could show that he was not involved in the fatal shooting of 15-year-old Quintin Hammond.

Kevin Henderson asked for DNA testing on any hair, sweat, skin or fibers from a head rag and a toboggan hat found at the murder scene.

Jefferson Circuit Judge Denise Clayton ordered the testing on Thursday, nearly a year after another man jailed in the slaying, Cedric O'Neal, came forward and said he had acted alone.

Who was shooter?

O'Neal said he named Henderson as the shooter during a 1998 trial in an attempt to deflect blame.

"Kevin didn't have anything to do with this. I was the only shooter," O'Neal told Clayton.

Henderson and O'Neal were convicted of wanton murder and first-degree robbery in 1998 and sentenced to life in prison. Henderson has maintained his innocence all along.

Neither prosecutors nor defense attorneys sent the head rag and toboggan for DNA testing before the 1998 trial.

No witnesses

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Shelly Lemons said Thursday that there might not be any hair or other fibers to test.

Without O'Neal's testimony, prosecutors have no witnesses placing Henderson at the crime scene, said Henderson's attorney, Brian Ruff, who has been trying to get his client a new trial since O'Neal changed his story.

Ruff is working with the Innocence Project, a nonprofit organization in New York.

Hammond was shot three times on Aug. 20, 1997, as he walked to a bus stop near Larkwood Avenue and 41st Street in Louisville.

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