- Associated Press - Friday, January 30, 2015

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A Santa Fe judge is refusing to permit trial testimony that a murder defendant’s genetic makeup and maltreatment as a child made him more likely to act aggressively on impulse.

A state District Court judge ruled Thursday against allowing defense experts’ testimony about a so-called “warrior gene” in the trial of 26-year-old Anthony Yepez in the 2012 choking and beating death of 75-year-old George Ortiz following an argument.

Allowing the testimony might persuade jurors that the killing wasn’t premeditated and set the stage for a conviction for second-degree murder instead of first-degree murder.

Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer said she was uncertain that the science behind the testimony was reliable enough.

Prosecutor Susan Stinson said many other factors could have influenced Yepez’s behavior, and that his self-reported childhood abuse wasn’t corroborated.

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