Judge denies ‘DJ Freez’ Rowe’s bid for DNA testing in Mirack murder [update] | Local News
Raymond Rowe, the once-popular entertainer known as DJ Freez, has lost his bid to have DNA testing done on items used to murder teacher Christy Mirack 29 years ago — items, he maintained, that would show he wasn’t responsible.
Lancaster County Judge Dennis Reinaker denied Rowe’s challenge to his conviction in a 16-page ruling Thursday, finding Rowe’s claim that someone else killed her after they had consensual sex unbelievable.
“Unfortunately for (Rowe,) he may try to change his version of events, but he cannot change the record. Unlike the petitioner, the record does not lie,” Reinaker wrote in the opinion and order.
Rowe, 53, pleaded guilty Jan. 8, 2019, to raping and murdering Mirack in her East Lampeter Township townhome on Dec. 21, 1992. in exchange for prosecution to drop the death penalty.
Rowe’s attorney did not have an immediate comment because he had not reviewed Reinaker’s opinion and order. Messages at phone numbers believed to be Mirack’s brother weren’t immediately returned.
Rowe testified at a hearing last August that he was forced to take the plea by his attorneys and because he was facing the possibility of the death penalty.
In Rowe’s telling, he and Mirack had a secret relationship. They had consensual sex and she was alive when he left the townhome, meaning someone else killed her, according to his testimony.
Reinaker rejected that.
“This court is unable to fathom that someone else entered the home between the hours of 7 a.m. and between the timeframe of 7:10 a.m.-7:20 a.m, found the victim without her clothes on, covered in semen, and murdered her without leaving any additional DNA on her body,” Reinaker wrote.
Mirack’s roommate left for work at 7 a.m. the day of the murder, and neighbors reported hearing a scream coming from the apartment shortly afterward.
The principal at the school where Mirack taught worried when she failed to arrive at school. He drove to her townhome and found her body about 9:20 a.m.
Rowe wanted Reinaker to order that DNA testing be done on Mirack’s sweater, which was used to strangle her, and on a wooden cutting board used to beat her.
But Reinaker wrote Rowe “failed to provide any evidentiary basis that would lead the court to believe an alternative suspect’s DNA would be found” on the items.
“Given the circumstances of the case and the questionable version of events provided by the petitioner, DNA testing would not establish his actual innocence, even if his DNA were absent from the requested item,” Reinaker wrote.
Rowe’s defense attorney made a strategic decision not to have the items tested years ago, reasoning that she would not want to test something that could provide more evidence of guilt.
Rowe was never a suspect in Mirack’s killing until 2018, when genetic genealogy led detectives to him after his half-sister uploaded her DNA to a public genealogy database. The case was among the earliest uses of genetic genealogy, which involves comparing DNA collected at crime to DNA indexed by commercial and government testing labs. Partial matches can lead investigators to other relatives and, in some cases, to the actual perpetrators of crimes.
Rowe is serving life in prison without possibility of parole, plus 60 to 120 years for the other crimes.