New DNA Evidence Could Result in Pennsylvania Man's Freedom from Death Row

Pennsylvania death row inmate Nicholas James Yarris may become the next person to be freed from death row. In light of new DNA evidence that excludes Yarris as the person responsible for the 1981 rape and murder for which he was convicted, U.S. District Court Judge James Giles said that Yarris must be freed or granted a new trial in Delaware County within two weeks. Giles gave the Delaware County district attorney's office and defense attorneys 10 days to confirm that the new DNA tests are accurate. The Judge said that within 48 after that deadline, he will rule on whether to release or retry Yarris. Yarris, 41, has spent 21 years on Pennsylvania's death row, and has always maintained his innocence. (Philadelphia Inquirer, August 20, 2003). Read the Federal Defender's Press Release. See Innocence.