Convicted River Parishes serial killer's attorneys ask for DNA testing
Convicted River Parishes serial killer Daniel Blank, whose murder cases date back to the mid-1990s, has been in headlines again as his attorneys have asked for crime scene evidence to be examined.
Defense attorneys representing Blank have asked for DNA testing to be done on items found at the crime scenes.
They contend Blank was interrogated for 12 hours without an attorney present. They also claim forensic evidence was not presented placing Blank at the crime scenes.
U.S. District Court Judge Brian A. Jackson ordered Louisiana State Police, the Gonzales Police Department, the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office, and other law enforcement agencies to turn over evidence for testing.
According to the ruling document, the evidence has been transferred to Bode Technology in Lorton, Va. for examination. The items include a baseball bat, fingernail scrapings, and cigarette butts.
The murders, beginning in October 1996, occurred in Ascension, St. James, and St. John parishes.
According to published reports at the time, authorities said Blank had admitted to stabbing, bludgeoning, or shooting six people to death. He also admitted to trying to kill two others.
Blank, who reportedly told police he stole from the victims to pay for his gambling habit, was arrested in his hometown of Onalaska, Texas.
Blank's original 1999 conviction and death sentence has been through multiple appeals. In that case, an Ascension Parish grand jury unanimously convicted Blank of the 1997 murder of 71-year-old Lillian Philippe of Gonzales.
According to authorities, Blank confessed to killing Philippe and five other people during a two-year period. The murders occurred in Gonzales, St. Amant, LaPlace, and Paulina in both 1996 and 1997.
Blank reportedly lived in Sorrento at the time of the crimes.
In 2015, prosecutors argued Blank's testimony matched details from the crime scenes, which only the killer could have known.
In 2016, a stay of execution was granted by the Louisiana Supreme Court.