LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — A Lancaster County judge has denied the post-conviction petition of Raymond Rowe, also known as DJ Freez, who previously pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting and killing Christy Mirack in 1992, according to the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office.
Mirack’s murder went unsolved for more than two decades until DNA evidence technology led to Rowe. He entered his guilty plea in January of 2019 and was sentenced to life in prison without parole plus 60-120 years. Then in November of 2020, Rowe and his attorney filed a post-conviction DNA-testing petition, asking for additional DNA testing of five more items from the crime scene, according to the district attorney’s office.
The additional items Rowe wanted tested included a cutting board found near Mirack’s head, a toaster that was on top of the cutting board, pants found next to Mirack, and Mirack’s sweater and undershirt. The district attorney’s office says Rowe hoped the results of the extra tests would establish a new fact in the case and prove his innocence.
After hearings, Lancaster County Judge Dennis E. Reinaker denied the petition, saying that Rowe didn’t meet the first criteria for post-conviction DNA testing which “requires that the testing requested was not performed because (a) the technology was not available or (b) counsel requested funds for testing and that request was denied,” according to a post from the district attorney’s office on CRIMEWATCH. Reinaker said the DNA testing technology was available before his guilty plea.
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The judge also said that Rowe did not demonstrate a “reasonable possibility” that the testing would prove his innocence, the district attorney’s office reports.
“In sum, the evidence presented by the Commonwealth, the Petitioner’s own words of placing himself with Ms. Mirack the morning of the murder, and the DNA he left behind established that the Petitioner has not established a prima facie case of actual innocence and this failure would not be undermined by the potential that DNA could be found on the items surrounding Ms. Mirack at the murder scene,” Reinaker’s opinion said, according to the CRIMEWATCH post.
Rowe remains in prison. He has 30 days to appeal Reinaker’s ruling to the Superior Court.