A 63-year-old man serving a life sentence for the 1988 murder of a Lincoln woman has won a push to get new DNA testing on previously untested evidence that he thinks could clear him of the crime.
Herman Buckman has served more than 29 years for the first-degree murder of Denise Strawkowski. He is at the Nebraska State Penitentiary.Â
On Feb. 19, 1988, she was found dead in the front seat of her car in a ravine near U.S. 34 and Northwest 48th Street. Strawkowski had been shot twice in the head.
At a trial, prosecutors said Buckman had killed her over a drug debt. The Lancaster County jury found him guilty.
Last September, Buckman filed a motion for forensic DNA testing of biological material asking that testing be done on the victim’s underwear, as well as the floor mat and steering wheel cover.
Buckman contends that the testing could point to someone else as her killer.
He said the state never tested the evidence before and that the floor mats and steering wheel cover hadn’t shown up on an earlier inventory.
In an order late last week, Lancaster County District Judge Susan Strong sustained the motion over an objection by the County Attorney’s office. And she appointed the Commission on Public Advocacy to represent Buckman.
It’s not the first time Buckman has filed a petition under the DNA Testing Act, which enables convicted people to request DNA testing at state expense if it could lead to a new trial or to outright exoneration.
In 2004, he lost his bid for a new trial after testing on cigarette butts found at the crime scene were inconclusive.
At best, Buckman could neither be included or excluded as being a contributor of some of the genetic material found on the tested cigarettes, according to the Nebraska Supreme Court opinion.
In 2001, Buckman petitioned the Lancaster County District Court for DNA testing on bloodied…