Iowa Court Rejects Appeal in Family's Slayings

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By Katie Stinson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A court has rejected an appeal from a man serving life in prison for the slayings of his brother's family in 1975.

The Iowa Court of Appeals denied a request Wednesday by Jerry Mark to order DNA testing on cigarette butts found at the crime scene.

Mark was convicted of the slayings of his brother, sister-in-law and their two children. Authorities say he killed the family after driving from his California to their home near Cedar Falls.

Mark argued that DNA testing on the cigarettes might call into question whether he was at the scene. But the court says any testing would do little to undermine the state's "exceptionally strong, albeit circumstantial, case."

The court also rejected his request for additional proceedings to challenge the ballistics evidence used at trial.

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