Questions about the Houston Police Department’s DNA lab work have complicated another capital murder conviction, the Houston Chronicle says. Franklin DeWayne Alix was convicted in 1998 of a murder that prosecutors say was part of a six-month crime spree that included four killings, two rapes, and eight robberies. Jurors quickly sentenced Alix to death after hearing testimony from a Houston police analyst who said DNA linked Alix to another murder. “If ever there was a person who deserved the death penalty, it’s this defendant,” a prosecutor said.
Five years later, two retests on evidence from the case have failed to replicate the DNA match. Test results made public yesterday exclude Alix as a possible contributor to the sample. The discrepancies cloud a case that seemed clear-cut.
Robert Rosenberg, the attorney handling Alix’s appeal, said the DNA evidence swayed jurors as they weighed whether to give his client the death penalty instead of life in prison. Rosenberg said, “I believe he should get a new trial or at least a review of his punishment because this evidence could have made the difference between life and death for this young man.”