Judge orders more DNA testing in double-murder case

Oct. 31, 2013 @ 08:15 AM

One more DNA test has been approved in the case of William Eugene Murphy, charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the 1990 killings of Mark and Jeanie Seacrest.

Prosecutors have obtained a DNA sample from a person they have not publicly identified. Judge Thomas Edwards issued an order Wednesday for the state crime lab to test it against a sample taken from a stain on the pants of Jeanie Seacrest, to exclude the person as the contributor of the sample.

Murphy's attorney, Lisa Dubs, objected to any further delay in moving this case to trial. With a rush letter from Edwards, the test should be completed in 60 days, Assistant District Attorney Clifton Smith said, and within two days after that the results must be shared with Murphy's attorneys.

The bodies of Jeanie and Mark Seacrest were found Nov. 30, 1990. Autopsies revealed both had been shot in the head, Jeanie Seacrest had been shot in the chest, and Mark Seacrest's throat had been cut. Murphy was interviewed during the initial investigation and charged with the killings in April 2010, while already in the Caldwell County Detention Center on a charge of assault on a female.

In previous hearings, attorneys expressed concerns about how much the DNA samples in this case, which are now more than 20 years old and come from stains on bedding items, clothing and a semi-automatic handgun believed to have been used in the killings, may have degraded.