A New Mexico killer plans to appeal his murder conviction on the grounds that he has a so-called “warrior gene” that caused him to “black out” during the slaying.
A lawyer for Anthony Blas Yepez will argue Monday in the state Supreme Court that evidence about his alleged genetic predisposition toward violence was improperly tossed during his 2015 trial.
He was convicted of beating, choking and burning to death his girlfriend’s 75-year-old step-grandfather, George Ortiz, in 2012 and sentenced to 22 years.
Yepez claimed that he “must have blacked out” during a fit of rage and only regained consciousness on top of the elderly man, who appeared lifeless on the ground.
During the trial, his lawyer attempted to call expert witnesses to testify about studies that say people with low levels of an enzyme that breaks down neurotransmitters are more inclined to act aggressively on impulse.
But prosecutors argued the scientific theory, which was first introduced by a Dutch scientist in the early 1990s, is unsubstantiated.
The judge ultimately rejected the defense’s argument and refused to allow the jury to hear testimony about the “warrior gene.”
The state Court of Appeals ruled in July that the evidence shouldn’t have been tossed — but also said the omission didn’t have any bearing on Yepez’s second-degree murder conviction.
With Post Wires
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