Appeal From Convicted Murderer is Rejected

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)- The appeal from a convicted murderer, who challenged DNA evidence that led to his arrest, has been rejected.

The DNA evidence led to the arrest of 50-year-old Kevin Benefield, of the Bronx, New York, and exonerated another man who served two decades for the crime. Benefield argued the consent he gave in 1986 to test a sample of his saliva, did not give them permission to retest that DNA in 2009. The DNA was tested with new technology, and Benefield was charged in the murder of 30-year-old Barbara Pelkey.

Police say Pelkey was sexually assaulted and killed in Wallingford in 1986. She was a mother of four.

Now, a three-judge panel has ruled the consent Benefield gave in 1986, still applied in 2009.

“The defendant’s claim that no objectively reasonable person could have anticipated in 1986 that his saliva samples would be subjected to DNA analysis in 2009,” said Judge Douglas S. Lavine, ” misses the point because the unlimited consent he gave authorized any lawful search at any time by any technology.”

The new DNA evidence led to the exoneration and release of Kenneth Ireland, who had been charged in Pelkey’s murder, and served 20 years in prison.

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