COLUMBUS: The Ohio Supreme Court plans to hear arguments in the case of a condemned inmate whose attorneys argue DNA testing could help exonerate him.
At issue is the case of death row prisoner Tyrone Noling, convicted in 1996 of fatally shooting an elderly Portage County couple at their home.
The Supreme Court on Monday scheduled a Jan. 8 hearing for arguments from both sides.
Noling has been on death row at the Ohio State Penitentiary since his conviction in the slayings of Bearnhardt and Cora Hartig at their Atwater Township home.
The Hartigs, both 81, were shot multiple times in the chest April 5, 1990, as they sat at their kitchen table, according to the police investigation.
Lawyers for the Ohio Innocence Project want to test a cigarette butt found at the scene against DNA profiles of offenders in a national database, including a convicted killer who was executed.
The state says previous tests have excluded Noling as the smoker of the butt and says new testing would prove nothing.
A lower court judge twice has denied the request for DNA testing.