For about three decades waiting on death row, Jimmy Meders has continuously denied he shot the Dan Wesson .357 Magnum revolver that killed Don Anderson, a convenience store clerk, in Brunswick, Georgia, in 1987.
The same revolver, still sealed in plastic in a South Georgia precinct, holds the answer to Meders’ claim. That’s according to his defense team and sworn-in forensic experts who say the weapon still holds DNA information that is crucial to solving the case.
As the Jan. 16 date approaches for his scheduled execution by lethal injection, Meders was granted a hearing Wednesday on his request for DNA testing and a new trial.
In 1989, a jury convicted Meders of murder. DNA tests were not available in Georgia then. It was his word against three other men. One of them, Meders claims, shot the gun.
Defense attorney Michael Admirand, with the Southern Center for Human Rights, said he is confident that DNA testing will explain what happened.
“We are not contending that Jimmy Meders is actually innocent of the murder. We are contending that results would have made a difference whether to his conviction or his sentence. The real issue is that the jury wanted to impose life without parole, but, at the time of Mr. Meders’ trial, they weren’t allowed to. Ultimately what we are asking for is for the court to impose the sentence that the jury wanted to impose, which was life without parole.”
The hearing will take place at Glynn County’s Superior Court on Wednesday. If denied, Meders will seek a clemency hearing a day before his scheduled execution.
His defense motion states that given the lack of physical evidence, there is “reasonable probability” that the jury would have acquitted Meders of malice murder.
“We are asking for the murder weapon during the shooting of Don Anderson to be tested for DNA, which has never happened. We think it’s important because there are a lot of questions over who exactly pulled the trigger,” he said.