DNA evidence

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Suspected Serial Killer Doomed by Genealogy-Curious Relative

Forensic genealogy is a new tool for law enforcement

(Newser) - The man police say is Arizona's "Canal Killer," who killed two women—beheading one of them—in the early 1990s, was caught in large part because some relative of his somewhere submitted their DNA to one of those public genealogy databases, the Arizona Republic reports. Suspect Bryan... More »

Blood-Stained Leaves Hold Truth of King Albert's Death

Forensic geneticist says DNA analysis disproves 'mise-en-scene' theories

(Newser) - As far as souvenirs go, they were gory ones: bloodied leaves and stones collected during the wee hours of Feb. 18, 1934, by Belgian villagers who lived near Marche-les-Dames. King Albert I had set off on a solo climb amid the area's 600-foot-tall peaks on the 17th, having instructed... More »

Cops Use Potato to Crack Arson Case

Suspect allegedly stuffed it into a vehicle's tailpipe

(Newser) - Connecticut police knew they were dealing with arson. What they didn't know was who was responsible—until a DNA test on a potato provided a break in the case. Willow Martin, 19, was charged Tuesday with several crimes including arson and burglary after a September 2015 fire at a... More »

Exonerated Man Released From Prison After 33 Years

DNA evidence shows he's innocent of a 1982 murder and rape

(Newser) - After 33 years in prison, Keith Harward was released from the Nottoway Correctional Center on Friday after the Virginia Supreme Court agreed that DNA evidence proves he's innocent of the 1982 killing of Jesse Perron and the rape of his wife in Newport News, the AP reports. Harward was... More »

DNA Clears Man in Prison for 16 Years for Rape

'Shaky witness' testimony erroneously landed Luis Vargas in jail in 1999

(Newser) - A California man imprisoned for 16 years for sexual assault was exonerated Monday after DNA tests showed another man committed the crimes, USA Today reports. Luis Vargas, 46, broke down when an LA Superior Court judge granted a petition to release him from his sentence of 55 years to life... More »

DNA Evidence Is More Fallible Than People Think

Juries aren't being told the full story, expert warns

(Newser) - DNA testing has improved to the point where it is starting to incriminate the wrong people in some cases, experts warn. The problem is super-sensitive equipment and DNA transfer, which can lead to a person's DNA being found on a body or murder weapon even if they had only... More »

DNA Analysis Proves It: Chili's Waiter Spit in Drink

Kept his job for months afterward

(Newser) - Vindictive servers beware: A Chili's restaurant and an ex-employee were hit with a lawsuit on Tuesday after DNA analysis proved the employee in question hawked a loogie in a man's cup. The incident occurred in July 2014, when Ken Yerdon and his wife had dinner at the restaurant'... More »

Scientists Find Way to Distinguish Twins' DNA

Researchers may have just made prosecutors' lives easier

(Newser) - Identical twins share an identical DNA profile, and when you're an investigator examining DNA evidence, that can be a problem. The cases may be rare, but they exist, legal expert Jennifer Mnookin told the New York Times last year amid a rape case involving a suspect with a twin:... More »

How Rapists Who Wear Condoms Could Be Caught

Bacterial profiles of pubic hair so unique they could identify perpetrators

(Newser) - Investigators routinely analyze pubic hairs found at crime scenes where rape is suspected, but it's rare that the hair has its root, and thus sufficient DNA to identify its former owner. Now researchers say that bacterial colonies on pubic hairs appear to be so unique to an individual that... More »

Suspects Re-Enact Brutal Thai Murders

Cops say 2 have confessed to killing Hannah Witheridge, David Miller

(Newser) - Thai police say DNA evidence is a match for two Burmese men who've confessed to killing two British tourists . Sporting helmets and handcuffs, the suspects today re-enacted the crime—a typical practice used by Thai law enforcement—on the Koh Tao island beach where the murders were committed last... More »

Lubbock, Texas, Makes Sure It Remembers Its Mistake

Statue unveiled for Tim Cole, who was wrongly jailed for rape

(Newser) - In 1986, a Texas Tech student was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the rape of 20-year-old Michele Mallin. Tim Cole endured his incarceration with optimism and faith, encouraging his sister to finish law school and donating to charity with money from his GI Bill from prison—an especially... More »

Author: DNA Test Pegs Jack the Ripper

Polish Jew Aaron Kosminski was the killer, author says

(Newser) - An amateur detective has written a new book that claims to reveal the real Jack the Ripper based on DNA evidence from a blood-soaked shawl found by one of the victims. Russell Edwards, author of Naming Jack the Ripper, writes in the Daily Mail that he bought the shawl at... More »

Jenise's Dad Looked Out for Teen Held in Her Murder

17-year-old will be tried as an adult for rape and murder

(Newser) - Not long after the body of 6-year-old Jenise Wright was found in a 4-foot bog near her family's mobile home in Bremerton, Wash., DNA evidence on her clothing led investigators to 17-year-old family friend Gabriel Zebediah Gaeta. Jenise's father, James Wright, tells NBC News he'd mentored Gabriel:... More »

DNA Used to Catch Man Voting Over and Over

Robert Monroe cast 5 ballots in Wisconsin recall vote: police

(Newser) - How convinced may Robert Monroe have been that his vote in the 2012 presidential election mattered? So much so that the Wisconsin man allegedly cast an in-person absentee ballot in Shorewood on Nov. 1 then rented a car and drove some 250 miles to Lebanon, Ind., five days later, using... More »

Police to Do 527 DNA Tests to Find Student's Rapist

All male students, staff at French high school asked to give samples

(Newser) - Male students and staff at a high school in western France—527 people in total—were asked to give DNA samples beginning today as police search for the assailant who raped a teenage girl. The La Rochelle prosecutor's office said tests were expected to last from today through Wednesday... More »

Exonerations Hit All-Time High

Prosecutors more willing to revisit cases, study says

(Newser) - More wrongfully convicted people were exonerated last year than ever before in the US, a study by two law schools behind the National Registry of Exonerations finds. Some 87 people were found to have been wrongfully convicted, compared to 83 in 2009, the study's previous high, per the New ... More »

DNA Leads to Conviction in 22-Year-Old Rape-Murder

San Francisco man raped, killed woman in burglary case: jury

(Newser) - A San Francisco man who went to prison decades ago as a burglar has now been convicted of raping and murdering a woman in 1991. Otis Hughes, 61, was imprisoned for burglary after the death of Karen Wong, whose apartment appeared to have been ransacked, police said. After he was... More »

Arrest in Grisly '96 Killing, as Another Guy Does Time for It

Jason Ryan arrested in 1996 murder of Geraldine Montgomery

(Newser) - Police just yesterday arrested a man in a 17-year-old rape and murder case. Just one wrinkle: Another man is already serving life in prison for the crime. The horrific murder of Geraldine Montgomery shocked the small town of Kalkaska, Mich., in 1996, NBC News reports. The 68-year-old widow was beaten... More »

Accused Rapist's Defense: My Twin Did It

Aaron Lucas says his brother perpetrated sexual assaults

(Newser) - An Army lieutenant accused of sexually assaulting several young girls will be allowed to make an unusual defense at trial: his brother did it, the AP reports. DNA samples have linked the officer, Aaron Lucas, to three of the crimes, but the siblings share the same DNA. "I have... More »

Cat DNA Database Helps Convict British Killer

Good news, though: Tinker the cat is OK

(Newser) - CSI Meow-i? A newly created DNA database of British cats has helped convict a killer. The University of Leicester today said its catalog of feline DNA buttressed the prosecution case against David Hilder, who was convicted of manslaughter last month at a court in the English city of Winchester. It'... More »

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