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Ex-police officer convicted in woman's '93 death seeks new trial in Baltimore Co.

A former Baltimore officer convicted of first-degree murder in the 1993 death of a young woman is seeking a third trial in Baltimore County, saying expert testimony presented by prosecutors in his trial has since been discredited.

James Allen Kulbicki was convicted in the death of 22-year-old Gina Nueslein in 1993. He was retried in 1995 and found guilty again.

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He’s now serving a life sentence without parole.

A three-day hearing in front of Judge Julie L. Glass is scheduled to begin Monday in Baltimore County Circuit Court to determine if he should get a new trial.

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Lawyers for Kulbicki, 61, say in court filings that evidence that emerged years after Kulbicki was convicted “discredited the core elements” of the state’s case. They’ve filed what is known as a petition for a writ of actual innocence.

They point to testimony from FBI agent Ernest Peele regarding a comparative bullet-lead analysis — a forensic technique that was found to be flawed. They also cite the testimony of the state’s ballistics examiner, Joseph Kopera, who was later found to have lied about his credentials.

The Supreme Court on Monday reinstated the first-degree murder conviction and life sentence of a former Baltimore Police sergeant for killing his young mistress nearly two decades ago, a case that had been overturned by Maryland's highest court.

The hearing is set to start a day before the 25th anniversary of Nueslein’s death.

“It just brings up a lot of bad memories,” said her sister, Jennifer Getz, a teenager at the time of Nueslein’s death. “It’s not a good time to have it. … Every time we think it’s behind us, it seems to come back and hit us in the face again.”

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Nueslein was found shot to death in Gunpowder Falls State Park in January 1993.

Kulbicki, who was a Baltimore police sergeant and 14 years older than Nueslein, had had an extramarital affair with her and was the father of her child. Nueslein had begun legal proceedings to seek child support from Kulbicki, and they were set to appear in court a few days after Nueslein was killed.

In 2014, the Maryland Court of Appeals found that Kulbicki’s defense lawyers should have done more to challenge the bullet analysis presented by prosecutors and ordered a new trial. But the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the conviction the following year.

The defense attorney now representing Kulbicki could not be reached for comment.

County prosecutors say that the information cited by the defense in the new petition would not have changed the outcome of the case.

“It’s certainly our position that this alleged new evidence is not something that would have affected the result,” said Deputy State’s Attorney John Cox.

In court filings, prosecutors say other evidence “unquestionably establishes guilt.” For example, they wrote, an eyewitness saw someone driving a black Ford pickup in the area of the state park where Nueslein’s body was found, and identified Kulbicki as the driver.

In the hearing to begin Monday, prosecutors wanted to present evidence from a 2007 DNA evidence from what they say was a bone fragment found in Kulbicki’s truck. The defense objected to the move, and last week, Glass granted a defense motion to exclude the DNA evidence, Cox said.

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