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Convicted Utah murderer denied DNA testing

Published September 19, 2012 1:52 pm

Court • Judge says testing would not prove that George Hamilton is "factually innocent."
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A man convicted of murdering a college hitchhiker in 1985 will not be allowed to use DNA testing to try to prove his innocence, a 4th District Court judge ruled Wednesday.

George Hamilton will not be allowed to pursue the testing because Hamilton has not shown, as required by law, that the evidence is in "testable condition" or that testing the evidence could prove he's "factually innocent," according to the decision handed down by 4th District Judge James Brady.

Hamilton was convicted of murdering Sharon Sant in August 1985 after he picked her up while she was hitchhiking from Southern Utah State College in Cedar City so she could attend a funeral in Fillmore.

Investigators found her dismembered body in a shallow grave 15 days later.

Hamilton had requested DNA testing be performed on a blood-stained bottle found at the burial site and on a hair recovered from his truck, according to information provided by the Utah Attorney General's Office. Hamilton argued that the testing would prove that he was framed and the hair did not belong to Sant.

Hamilton's attorneys have unsuccessfully argued previously that Hamilton was convicted based on insufficient circumstantial evidence — his bloody fingerprint on a bottle, which matched Sant's blood — and argued that Hamilton is guilty of nothing more than recklessly assisting in Sant's death.

Hamilton was twice convicted of second-degree murder and is currently serving a prison sentence of five years to life.

jstecklein@sltrib.com

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