Oral argument will be heard tomorrow before the Hon. John L. Michalski in Erie County Supreme Court on one simple question: are Brian Lorenzo and James Pugh entitled to DNA testing?
The two men have been in prison for the past quarter century for the stabbing-and-strangling murder of Deborah Meindl, a 33-year-old mother of two, in North Tonawanda, near Buffalo, New York. The crime scene was brimming with biological evidence, none of it ever tested by modern methods. Our client, Jimmy Pugh, has always maintained his innocence, even though he is eligible for parole. No physical evidence linked him in any way to the crime scene and there is no evidence that he knew the victim, her family, or anyone associated with him. The crime scene evidence is carefully preserved in a police locker. DNA testing can exonerate Pugh and Lorenzo — or decisively prove their guilt once and for all.
Nonetheless the Erie County District Attorney’s Office opposes any DNA testing.
Judge Michalski will hear argument at 2 p.m. at the Erie County Courthouse from Alanna Kaufman and Ilann Maazel of Emery Celli Brinkerhoff & Abady LLP, on behalf of Lorenzo and Zachary Margulis-Ohnuma on behalf of Pugh. Legendary ZMOLAW paralegal Jeffrey Hetzel put together the file for Mr. Pugh, showing that the case was weak despite a half-dozen witnesses who prosecutors claim heard Pugh or Lorenzo confess.
The DNA is there. The case cannot be put to rest until it is tested. Test the DNA.