The Ohio Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a man on death row who claims he was wrongfully convicted should be given the complete DNA profile from a cigarette butt found at the scene of the crime.
Tyrone Noling was sentenced to death in 1996 for killing Bearnhardt and Cora Hartig in Portage County. Noling has maintained his innocence all along.
His lawyer, Brian Howe, says the decision by the state high court to release the DNA evidence could help prove Noling’s innocence in a new trial.
“One of the things that Mr. Noling is interested in is finding out who had left that cigarette butt at the scene of the crime. Neither of the Hartigs smoked. There’s a good possibility that whoever left that cigarette butt is one of the people responsible for committing that murder. So that’s one of the avenues that’s now available to Tyrone," Howe said.
The court sided with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation that shells casings and ring boxes found at the scene were too contaminated to test.