The Minnesota Supreme Court has upheld a lower court’s ruling denying DNA testing of evidence in a case of a man convicted of a 1986 Janesville murder, and affirmed his 1987 conviction.
The court, in its June 12 ruling, said Michael Wayne (previously known as Michael Wayne Fenney), failed to show how DNA testing would prove his innocence and found that Wayne’s request was filed almost five years too late.
Wayne was sentenced to life in prison for murdering Janesville resident Mona Amendariz. He was convicted in March 1987 of beating, stabbing and sexually assaulting the 27-year-old in a Janesville Trailer Court home. Amendariz, whose throat was slit, was found naked from the waist up. She was wrapped in a blanket and stuffed under a bed, according to a July 31, 1986 Waseca County News report.
Wayne, 19 when he was arrested, was a former Janesville resident and the last person seen with Amendariz.
The court noted Wayne’s claim that DNA testing would show Amendariz engaged in sexual relationships with others didn’t explain how the the testing would vindicate him.
And, it said, that the DNA evidence “wasn’t subject to a chain of custody sufficient to establish that it has not been substituted, tampered with, replaced, or altered in any material aspect.”
While the law allows for time limits to be waived in certain circumstances, Wayne’s previous petitions show, according to the court, that he was aware of DNA testing in 1998 and therefore should have made the request well before his February 2012 filing.
Wayne is currently serving his sentence in a Rush City correctional facility.
Reach Regional Managing Editor Suzanne Rook at 507-931-8567. Follow her on Twitter @rooksuzy