New Mexico’s top court examines ‘warrior-gene’ defense

New Mexico

ANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme Court is considering whether evidence of a genetic predisposition toward violence should have been allowed in the trial of a man convicted of murder in 2015.

Oral arguments were scheduled Monday in an appeal stemming from the conviction of Anthony Blas Yepez in the killing of his girlfriend’s 75-year-old step-grandfather during a domestic dispute in 2012.

The state Court of Appeals says evidence was improperly excluded at trial that Yepez had a so-called warrior gene variant linked to aggressive and violent behavior. The appeals court also found the omission was harmless and would not have had a bearing on the second-degree murder conviction against Yepez.

State prosecutors fear the appeals court decision left the door open to an unsubstantiated scientific theory in court.

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