DNA implicated Gary in 1975 New York murder

By Andrew Wittenberg  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The day after Carlton Gary was scheduled to die, his case lives.

The Georgia State Supreme Court issued the stay of execution and an order for a hearing about potential DNA testing.

But DNA evidence from a 1975 New York murder case means the fight to clear Gary's name still hangs in the balance.

It will be a chess match between District Attorney Julia Slater and Carlton Gary's defense attorney Jack Martin.

A hearing to determine whether DNA testing will be conducted, will come within the next 90 days.

Critics of Gary's defense team, led by Jack Martin, ask why wait so long to seek the tests, if the evidence was there to prove his innocence in 2001.

"This was our last alternative, and I admit it. It was our last alternative," Martin said.

There is no shortage of evidence collected at the crime scenes.

But even if DNA is tested and the results come out in his favor, Gary is not out of the woods.

There is still the murder case of Marion Fisher in Syracuse, New York.

"I want to state unequivocally, that there is no reasonable doubt that Carlton Gary murdered Marion Fisher."

That was Onondaga County, New York District Attorney William Fitzpatrick's statement in 2007.

Officials in New York positively linked Gary to the 1975 murder of Fisher in 2007 with the help of DNA evidence.

Charges were never filed in that case, because Fitzpatrick is confident he'll never see the light of day in Georgia.

"I have anticipated all possible scenarios and believe that the worst-case scenario would be that Carlton Gary will spend the rest of his life incarcerated in a maximum security facility in the state of Georgia," Fitzpatrick said in 2007.

There is still the possibility there could be no DNA testing in the Columbus murder cases at all.

Judge Robert Johnston can rule against the defense at that hearing.

It would then be sent back to the State Supreme Court, where they would either concur with Judge Johnston or mandate the testing themselves.