BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A man serving life in prison for strangling his 15-year-old ex-girlfriend will have evidence tested for DNA after an appeals court in Knoxville reversed a lower court's decision Tuesday.
Jack Jay Shuttle, 34, contended he was denied DNA testing from his jeans and Brandi Sims' fingernails because he twice admitted to killing her on Dec. 28, 1989, at a skating rink.
"Although at trial the petitioner admitted to killing the victim ... Tennessee's statute 'does not explicitly require that the petitioner show that identity was an issue' in order for a court to order DNA testing," Judge Joe G. Riley wrote in the unanimous three-judge decision.
Shuttle has recanted his confession, claiming it was coerced. He said an acquaintance killed Sims while he was inside the skating rink buying cocaine for the acquaintance.
The lower court judge had said Shuttle's confession eliminated any need for DNA testing on the blood samples, and that he believed Shuttle lied on the witness stand.