DNA Test Confirms Guilt Of Executed Virginia Killer Roger Coleman

A last minute move by outgoing Virginia Governor Mark Warner to give incoming Governor Tim Kaine an avenue to abandon his pledge to enforce Virginia’s death penalty laws, which we’d previously covered, has come up empty.

RICHMOND, Va. Jan 12, 2006 — New DNA tests confirmed the guilt of a man who went to his death in Virginia’s electric chair in 1992 proclaiming his innocence, a spokeswoman for the governor said Thursday.

The case had been closely watched by both sides in the death penalty debate because no executed convict in the United States has ever been exonerated by scientific testing.

The tests, ordered by the governor last month, prove Roger Keith Coleman was guilty of the 1981 rape and murder of his sister-in-law, Gov. Mark R. Warner’s spokeswoman Ellen Qualls said.

A finding of innocence would have been explosive news and could have had a powerful effect on the public’s attitude toward capital punishment. Death penalty opponents have been warning for years that the risk of a grave and irreversible mistake by the criminal justice system is too great to allow capital punishment.In the matter of Roger Coleman’s rape and murder of Wanda McCoy justice was done in 1988 when he was convicted, 1992 when he was executed, and today when the those who want all death penalty convictions overturned lost their “innocent” poster boy.

A heavy price has been exacted on McCoy’s family for the past 25 years by Coleman supporters like Jim McCloskey. It’s telling that his Centurion Ministries page contains this introduction to his press release:

Today, January 12, 2006, we are sad to let you know that Governor Mark Warner has announced that the DNA testing in the Roger Keith Coleman case has confirmed Roger’s guilt.

A guilty man was proven guilty, the system worked, justice was served, etc. yet they’re “sad.”

Previously: Will Kaine Be Raising The Death Penalty Issue?

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