Judge tosses conviction, cites weak DNA evidence

Posted: Sunday, February 13, 2011

FAIRBANKS — A Kenai judge has granted a Fairbanks man convicted of a 1982 murder last year a new trial because the prosecutor withheld information about weakness of the DNA evidence against him.

Fifty-seven-year-old Jimmy Lee Eacker had been accused of stabbing a woman to death with a Phillips screwdriver in the only unsolved murder in the coastal community of Seward. The case against him relied on an Alaska State Troopers’ cold case investigation using DNA technology not available at the time of the crime.

That DNA evidence is getting closer scrutiny.

This week Superior Court Judge Anna Moran — the judge who presided over the five-week trial in Kenai last March — threw out the conviction following post-trial motions and evidentiary hearings on the DNA issue.

She did not go as far as to dismiss the charges against Eacker.

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