- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 28, 2014

HAILEY, Idaho (AP) - An Idaho woman serving two life sentences for killing her parents says new analytical techniques for DNA evidence could clear her of the murders.

The Idaho Mountain Express reports (https://bit.ly/1k0Fzz8) that 5th District Court Judge G. Richard Bevan signed on order earlier this month for 27-year-old Sarah Johnson to move ahead in court with that argument.

Bevan signed the order May 19 for the new post-conviction relief case at the same time he closed out a different post-conviction relief case initially filed in 2006.

Johnson’s attorney, Keith Roark, filed the motion in January seeking to have the court consider the new analytical techniques for the latest case. Roark didn’t return a call from The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Thomas also didn’t return a call from the AP.

Johnson was 16 in 2003, when prosecutors say she shot 46-year-old Alan Johnson and 52-year-old Diane Johnson with a rifle at the family’s Bellevue home.

She was found guilty on two counts of first-degree murder and was sentenced in 2005 to life in prison without parole.

Johnson previously appealed her conviction, contending that her attorney at the time was incompetent. But the Idaho Supreme Court in February ruled that she failed to prove the lawyer’s incompetency and didn’t demonstrate that new evidence would produce an acquittal.

Johnson was convicted of pulling the trigger on a .264-caliber rifle, first killing her mother as she lay in bed in the early morning hours, then turning the weapon on her father as he exited the shower. Prosecutors said Johnson killed her parents after fighting with them over her boyfriend, Bruno Santos, a 19-year-old man who had entered the country illegally from Mexico and who was living in central Idaho.

In previous court action, the Idaho Supreme Court in June 2008 denied Johnson’s request for exoneration or a new trail. The U.S. Supreme Court later that year declined to hear the case.


Information from: Idaho Mountain Express, https://www.mtexpress.com

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