DNA testing raises questions in triple murder case

By: Tim Johnston Email
By: Tim Johnston Email

It's been almost 15 years since Willa Jean Ferrier, Crystal Conaster, and Chris Boswell were found dead inside a McCreary County home.

John Garland was arrested, convicted, and sentenced to death for the triple murder, but now, new questions are being raised about the case.

"I just want the truth," said Geneva Claxton, who was nine when her mother, Willa Jean Ferrier, was killed.

The twist is Garland is her father's uncle. Ever since then, she's grown up wondering what happened, but knows her mother died fighting..

"Knowing who is responsible, or who fought with her, it would [bring] a lot of closure," stated Claxton.

The hair found in her mother's hand is now the center of a new DNA test to be conducted. Garland asked for the test, and after several months a judge allowed it. Already, Claxton is questioning why this wasn't done before.

"At the time, of the crime, John Garland had grey, silver-ish hair," recalled Claxton, "the hair that was found in her [Ferrier's] hands was a brownish color."

She added, "If they would've tested it [the DNA evidence] in the first place, a lot of this could've been put behind us."

Claxton says this test could be important because other evidence in the case has already been destroyed.

"I'm there for my mother. I'm not saying that anybody is innocent, I'm not saying anybody's guilty, I just want the truth," stated Claxton, who knows this likely won't be the last time she has to face this case, but she's hopeful it's a step toward closure.

At the time of his conviction, John Garland's son testified that he helped his father cover up the evidence. His son was convicted of facilitation to commit murder, a charge which family members say he served a five year sentence for. The families of both Garland and the victims say they believe Garland was convicted basted on the testimony of his son.

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