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BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Louisiana State Police have completed new fingerprint testing in the lone murder conviction of the man accused of being the River Parishes Serial Killer.
According to State Police Public Affairs Commander Captain Nick Manale, the court-ordered testing has been completed. An expert witness will review the results.
In 1999, a jury convicted Daniel Blank of the murder of Lillian Phillippe, 71.
He was sentenced to the death penalty in 2001, and the Louisiana Supreme Court paused his execution shortly before it was scheduled.
The case is still being appealed in federal court, and DNA and fingerprint analysis are being retested.
Blank was accused of being connected to at least five other killings in Louisiana.
U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson noted in a 2021 order for more fingerprint and DNA testing that there wasn’t any forensic evidence that connected Blank to any crime scene presented at the trial. He said that the prosecution implicated Blank in the murders of Victor Rossi, Joan Brock, Sam and Louella Arcuri, and Barbara Bourgeois and the attempted murders of Leonce and Joyce Millet.
Jackson also wrote that the trial heavily relied on a taped confession to investigators that he committed all the crimes alone. It was provided after 12 hours of an interview with no attorney present.
The judge highlighted that forensic evidence from three separate scenes available at the time of trial that could have changed the outcome if Blank’s counsel had all the information.
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“Specifically, State analysis ruled Blank out as a suspect,” Jackson wrote.
He said a match would have shown that Blank did not commit all the home invasions alone, which conflicts with the confession.