A state district judge has approved DNA testing on evidence seized from a 2005 double homicide near Royse City.
Brandon Dale Woodruff is currently serving a life prison sentence after being convicted of capital murder in connection with deaths of his parents, Dennis and Norma Woodruff.
Woodruff’s appeal attorneys were seeking the testing on hairs found in Norma Woodruff’s hand at the murder scene, claiming the hairs could belong to whoever killed the couple.
Tuesday afternoon 354th District Court Judge Richard A. Beacom agreed to the motion, but did not comment on whether the results of the tests would point to Woodruff’s guilt or innocence.
“The Court further finds that there will be NO unreasonable delay in the administration of justice if DNA testing is done,” Beacom wrote. “As to whether the Defendant would have been convicted if exculpatory results would have been obtained through DNA testing is to speculate as to what the jury would have done with the additional evidence.”
Prosecutors argued the testing was never performed on the strands because the hairs likely came from the mother’s head.
Beacom had taken the issue under advisement following a March 26 hearing.
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 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.
Beacom’s said he saw no harm to the prosecution in connection with the DNA testing, “and therefore orders the Hunt County Sheriff to release to the Texas Department of Public Safety the hair samples collected at the crime scene from Norma Woodruff’s hand. The Texas Department of Public Safety is to perform DNA testing to determine if the hair sample belonged to Defendant, or Norma Woodruff or Dennis Woodruff or another party.”