In the first paragraph, he says: "The purpose of this advisory is to notify the Court about those exculpatory mitochondrial DNA test results."
Complete bunk. There is nothing exculpatory about any of the DNA testing that has been performed to date.
As earth-shattering as Rob Owen would have you believe the mtDNA findings are, they're really not all that remarkable. Everybody knows what mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA) testing is, right? Basically it establishes maternal lineage with varying degrees of confidence. So they were trying to match (1) Hank, (2) Twila and her kids and (3) none of the above.
Owen contends: "The test results regarding the other three hairs, however, are significant and exculpatory. The mitochondrial DNA testing showed that those three hairs came from the maternally related line of persons that included the victims." So group 2 (Twila and the kids) so far are in this group along with all of Twila's brothers and sisters. With me on this?
Owen goes on to say that a "microscopic visual examination" of these hairs "excluded the victims" as donors. What the State's lab actually said was: "visually dissimilar to" other hairs from Busby or her kids.
The technique used by the State was "microscopic hair analysis" which is highly subjective and error prone. The FBI did a long term study on the technique and, if memory serves me correctly, they found that the error rate was as high as 15% meaning it produces nothing statistically significant. So the most likely donor was probably Twila Busby herself.
Then there's a rehash of things that have already been gone over before. There's the hearsay about Donnell threatening his wife and showing no emotion. Then there's this questionable witness who claimed Donnell was "frantically" scrubbing his truck--a claim that unraveled under cross-examination (but, hey, I guess you have to showboat when you're a high-profile death penalty appellate lawyer). And of course there's the missing windbreaker conspiracy theory.
But Owen still has another problem: the rest of the DNA evidence from Skinner spewed all over the place. So Owen has to address it and he does. I got a chuckle out of this:
For example, the fact that Mr. Skinner’s blood was found on some of the items tested, including a knife likely used in the murder, does not dispel the substantial doubts about his guilt that led to DNA testing in the first place. Mr. Skinner innocently came into daily contact with the handle of the kitchen knife that tested positive for his DNA, and on the night of the crime he was severely bleeding from a cut on his hand.
Permit me to rephrase this for Mr. Owen: Mr. Skinner "innocently" bled, on a daily basis, all over the handle of the kitchen knife. The fact that he had a big nasty cut on his hand the night of the crime is immaterial. That kitchen knife and him were best blood buddies long before evil Uncle Bob got hold of it.
Sure sounds like nonsense but will it work?
Well, in order to get a new trial, Rob Owen would have to show there is clear and convincing evidence of Skinner's innocence. In his arsenal, he has 3 hairs of questionable origin, some unknown DNA, a bunch of hearsay about a conveniently dead guy and a conspiracy theory.
Pretty much everything else, physical and behavioral, points overwhelmingly to Skinner's guilt.
So put yourself in the judge's shoes. Think it'll work?