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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Judges denies motion for new trial, DNA testing

  • A judge has denied motions seeking a new trial and DNA testing in the case of a man who was convicted of raping a woman during a 2004 robbery in Lansing.
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  • A judge has denied motions seeking a new trial and DNA testing in the case of a man who was convicted of raping a woman during a 2004 robbery in Lansing.
    Gregory M. George, Jr., 35, was convicted in 2006 of aggravated robbery, rape, aggravated intimidation of a witness or victim, and kidnapping. The kidnapping conviction was reversed in 2010 by the Kansas Court of Appeals, and he was re-sentenced.
    George was living in Kansas City at the time the crimes were committed. He was convicted of raping a clerk while robbing a convenience store in the 100 block of 4-H Road.
    George currently is in custody at Lansing Correctional Facility. His earliest possible release date is August 2052, according to a Kansas Department of Corrections website.
    A hearing on George's request for a new trial and the testing of DNA evidence was Jan. 28 in Leavenworth County District Court, and additional written arguments were submitted after the hearing.
    District Judge Gunnar Sundby issued a written ruling Friday in which he granted a prosecution request to dismiss George's motion seeking a new trial and DNA testing.
    Sundby ruled that under the law it was too late to file a motion for a new trial.
    George requested DNA testing of hairs and other materials collected during the investigation of the case.
    But, in his written ruling, Sundby stated the additional DNA testing requested "would not point to Mr. George's innocence or that he was wrongfully convicted."
    George also sought post conviction relief from the court, which could have included a new trial, based on the argument that earlier ineffective assistance of counsel denied him the right to a fair trial.
    Sundby wrote that George argued his attorney at the time of the 2006 trial had failed to seek an expert concerning eye witness identification.
    The attorney who is now representing George pointed out inconsistencies in the trial transcripts regarding the identification of the assailant.
    "Those same inconsistencies would have been obvious to the jurors during the trial," Sundby wrote in his ruling.
    Sundby stated the defendant has not provided evidence showing an expert could have assisted in finding other inconsistencies or explaining inconsistencies.
    The judge also wrote that decisions regarding whether to call witnesses are strategic in nature.
    "There appears to be no unusual circumstances in this case concerning eyewitness identification and thus it would appear that there was no deficient decision regarding non-use of experts concerning eyewitness identification," Sundby wrote.
    Sundby said the defendant also argued his earlier attorney should have had additional DNA testing performed in preparation for trial.
    "The decision to have the DNA evidence independently tested or tested on other materials may be a tactical decision rather than a deficient one," Sundby wrote.
    Page 2 of 2 - The judge went on to state he believes the decision in George's case fell into the area of a tactical decision.
    Sundby's ruling can be appealed.

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