Idaho Supreme Court rejects death row appeal

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by Rebecca Boone Associated Press

KTVB.COM

Posted on October 19, 2009 at 4:06 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 17 at 4:05 PM

BOISE -- The Idaho Supreme Court has thrown out an appeal from death row inmate Paul Ezra Rhoades, saying that a DNA report didn't cast doubt on the reliability of his conviction.

Rhoades was sentenced to death for two murders and life in prison for a third in three separate cases in 1988. The high court ruling focused only on the murder of Idaho Falls special education teacher Susan Michelbacher, who was kidnapped, raped and killed in 1987.

Rhoades said he was actually innocent of the crime because one of the three DNA samples taken from Michelbacher's body allegedly didn't belong to him. But the high court pointed out that the claim came too late under state appeal deadlines, and that Rhoades' own expert acknowledged that the DNA in the third sample may have actually belonged to the victim, not another attacker.

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