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Court affirms Omaha man’s cold case murder conviction

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Posted at 12:59 PM, Nov 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-01 13:59:14-04

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The Nebraska Supreme Court has rejected the appeal of an Omaha man who argued that the DNA analysis used to convict him was unreliable and should not have been allowed at this trial.

The high court said in its ruling Friday that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in allowing the DNA evidence at Charles Simmer’s 2018 trial, noting the analysis method had been peer reviewed and repeatedly validated through studies.

Simmer was convicted of first-degree murder in the beating and stabbing death of his aunt, 50-year-old Joy Blanchard, in her home in November 2007.

Authorities say Simmer had been a suspect since her death, but prosecutors weren’t able to assemble a convincing case until additional DNA tests in 2016. A high school friend of Simmer’s also told police following his arrest that he’d told her in 2008 he had killed someone.