The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

November 3, 2012

More DNA tests sought in Woodruff murder case

Herald-Banner Staff

— After an earlier test failed to clear their client, attorneys representing a man convicted of capital murder in a 2005 double homicide near Royse City are asking for a second round of DNA testing on evidence seized from the murder scene.

A hearing has been scheduled December 11 in the 354th District Court, at which time Judge Richard A. Beacom may decide whether to grant the latest motion filed by appeal attorneys for Brandon Dale Woodruff.

Woodruff is currently serving a life sentence after being convicted of capital murder in connection with deaths of his parents, Dennis and Norma Woodruff.

Earlier this year Woodruff’s attorneys sought DNA testing on hairs found in the hand of his mother at the murder scene, claiming the hairs could belong to whomever killed the couple.

But in a second motion seeking DNA testing, filed with the court October 25, attorney Gary A. Udashen said, “the hairs in Norma Woodruff’s left hand were tested and shown to belong to her.”

Udashen is now asking for tests on a stain from Norma Woodruff’s shirt.

“Additionally, other hairs were located in Norma Woodruff’s right hand,” Udashen wrote. “Counsel was previously unaware of the existence of this material. If DNA testing is conducted and the results show that this material was not attributable to Brandon Woodruff, this will show he is innocent of this offense.”

Prosecutors had previously argued the testing was never performed on the strands because the hairs likely came from the mother’s head.

Woodruff was found guilty by a jury on March 20, 2009 of capital murder involving the stabbing and shooting deaths of his parents. As the prosecution was not seeking the death penalty, Woodruff received an automatic sentence of life in prison without parole.

Prosecutors alleged Woodruff, at the time a student at Abilene Christian University, killed his mother and father inside their home near Royse City on the night of Oct. 16, 2005. Their bodies were found in the residence two days later.

Strands of blonde hairs were found in Norma Woodruff’s grasp at the scene. Brandon Woodruff had died his hair black at the time of the murders.

Appeal attorney Gary Udashen, in his motion seeking the post-conviction DNA testing, argued that if the DNA testing is performed and the results do not match Brandon Woodruff, it would show he is not the person who murdered Dennis and Normal Woodruff.

Special prosecutors from the Texas Attorney General’s Office handled the prosecution, as the Hunt County District Attorney’s Office was recused from the case. Assistant Attorney General Raphael A. Guerrero, in his response to Udashen’s earlier request, noted there was a significant amount of circumstantial evidence pointing toward Woodruff’s guilt and that the pathologist who performed the autopsy on Norma Woodruff said the hairs looked like they belonged to the victim.