DNA error prompts new trial in North Philly slaying

A judge has ordered a new trial for a man sentenced to death after he was convicted in a slaying outside a North Philadelphia bar more than a dozen years ago.

Prosecutors acknowledged having misinterpreted DNA evidence cited in the trial of Kareem Johnson in the 2002 slaying of 39-year-old Walter Smith, the Inquirer reported.

Prosecutors said during trial that the victim’s blood was found on Johnson’s red baseball cap, but it was actually on Smith’s black baseball cap. Authorities said Smith was killed because he was a key witness in a murder case against a friend of Johnson’s.

Johnson was serving a life term in the shooting death of a 10-year-old hit when a gunfight broke out as children arrived at school in February 2004.

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