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A Sumner man currently serving life in prison for first-degree murder in 2006 has filed a post-conviction relief petition claiming new evidence could set him free.

Lawrence Hamby, 39, now serving life without parole in the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison after being convicted of killing Paul “Frank” McKinney, has filed two motions in Bremer County District Court on March 23.

The first is to have a new DNA test performed on a sample his lawyer claims is in the state’s possession. The second is to overturn his 2009 conviction based on the potential results of the new DNA test, as well as on a confession relayed by another person that recently came to light, according to his attorney.

According to the court documents, a geneticist at the trial in January 2009 testified the DNA test at the time excluded Hamby, but could not exclude another person. In the petition, attorney Rockne Cole, of the Cole Law Firm PC in Iowa City, said half of the original sample is still in the state’s custody.

There is a three-year statute of limitations to introduce new evidence, but Cole argues if Hamby’s trial attorney had done due diligence, his client would have been exonerated.

District Court Judge Rustin Davenport has given Bremer County Attorney Kasey Wadding, who represented the state in the trial, 60 days to respond to the request for the new DNA test.

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