EASTON, Pa. - Hopes have been dashed for a man who was banking on new DNA testing to exonerate him in the rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl in 1989.
Scott Oliver was convicted of murder in 1991 for the killing of Melissa Jaroschak of Easton.
The Innocence Project wanted to test DNA from the case. Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli said what was found is that Oliver committed the crime.
"From day one, the theory of this prosecution was that Scott Oliver was the last person seen with Melissa Jaroschak," said Morganelli.
At his trial, however, Oliver said his confession was manufactured by the police. A jury didn't buy his argument and sentenced him to life in prison.
Fast forward to last year. The Innocence Project, a prisoner advocacy group based in New York, asked to test DNA from the case.
"There is a statute in place now that allows this type of testing," said Morganelli. "Some prosecutors resist it, but I feel if there is any chance that someone in prison is wrongfully charged, we need to exhaust that."
The initial DNA came back with no matches to Scott Oliver, however, additional hair samples collected by the Easton Police Department determined that Oliver was a match.
"Once they determined there is DNA evidence that links Oliver to this, along with his confession and everything else, it was pretty clear that this case was not going any further," said Morganelli, who was not in office at the time of the murder.
Allentown, PA 18102