Monthly Archives: April 2018

Golden State Killer caught using relative’s DNA from genealogy websites, prosecutors say

…The district attorney’s office “explored online family trees that appeared to have matches to DNA samples from the East Area Rapist’s crimes,” The Sacramento Bee reported. “They then followed clues to individuals in family trees to determine whether they were potential suspects.”…

Indiana State Police Forensic Scientist of the Year Hails from Evansville

The Indiana State Police Forensic Scientist of the Year Award has been presented to Marcus Montooth of Evansville.
The award is presented annually to a Forensic Scientist within the Laboratory Division deemed to have consistently provided a superior quality forensic analysis service in a highly professional, proficient, and unbiased manner for the Indiana Criminal Justice Community.

At Sacramento crime lab, ‘CSI’ meets real life

Jill Spriggs is showing off her highly trained staff and the expensive equipment they use to dissect evidence from crime scenes and help solve cases.

The highest-profile part of Sacramento County’s forensic sciences laboratory, however, is off limits. It’s where criminalists create DNA profiles – and where every precaution is taken to prevent contamination. The afternoon Spriggs gave a tour, Nikki Sewell was trying to extract DNA from a jacket in a robbery case and Angel Shaw was processing a rape kit. In another lab, Leslie Poole was hoping to match bullet cartridges from a series of shootings after swabbing a gun for DNA.

Suspected Golden State Killer, a former police officer, arrested on ‘needle in the haystack’ DNA evidence

More than 40 years after the so-called “Golden State Killer” began terrorizing California, raping dozens of women and killing at least 12 people, authorities announced Wednesday that they had arrested 72-year-old Joseph James DeAngelo, charging him with capital murder, after a recent DNA match.

Today is National DNA Day!

National DNA Day is celebrating the 15th anniversary of the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2018! On April 25th, students, teachers and the public can learn more about how advances in genetics and genomics have changed people’s lives and what the future holds.

Scientists just discovered a strange new DNA shape lurking in human cells

The discovery of DNA as a double helix is a hallowed story of scientific triumph—the work of four researchers merging together to solve one of science’s biggest mysteries, giving birth to what we know as the field of modern genetics. But decades later, we’re still learning that DNA is a more furiously complicated piece of biological machinery than we ever knew.

For the first time ever, scientists have just discovered a new shape of DNA lurking inside human cells. In a study published Monday in Nature Chemistry, a team of researchers from the Kinghorn Centre for Clinical Genomics at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney describe finding DNA as a four-stranded knot-like structure—called an i-motif—in human cells, upending much of what we previously thought could and could not exist in living humans, and eliciting a slew of questions about what the role of this structure might be, if it even has one.

The Midwest Innocence Project looks to the next generation

The statistics are staggering: between two and seven percent of all prisoners in the U.S. are innocent. That means at least 40,000 people — and as many as 155,000 people — are rotting behind bars for no reason. Ryan Ferguson (pictured above) was once among these ranks. He spent nearly ten years in prison for a murder committed in Columbia, Missouri, in 2001. He was 17 at the time.

Framed for Murder By His Own DNA

When the DNA results came back, even Lukis Anderson thought he might have committed the murder.
“I drink a lot,” he remembers telling public defender Kelley Kulick as they sat in a plain interview room at the Santa Clara County, California, jail. Sometimes he blacked out, so it was possible he did something he didn’t remember. “Maybe I did do it.”
Kulick shushed him. If she was going to keep her new client off death row, he couldn’t go around saying things like that. But she agreed. It looked bad.

Washington State Deploys STACS DNA’s Track-Kit Sexual Assault Kit Tracking System

“We are thrilled to be rolling-out Track-Kit in the state of Washington, which is leading the way in tracking SAKs,” said Jocelyn Tremblay, President and COO, STACS DNA. “For the past four years, we’ve been working with state agencies and sexual assault task forces across the United States so that we would be prepared with a complete, off-the-shelf, turnkey system that will be deployed quickly and be easy for everyone to use.”

Italy and its Mediterranean neighbors launch plan to identify migrants lost at sea

Four European Mediterranean countries are launching an initiative in June to identify thousands of missing migrants who died or went missing during the perilous sea crossing to the continent.
Italy, Greece, Malta and Cyprus – hardest hit by waves of migrants from Syria and Libya or people elsewhere in Africa – will gather on June 11th in Rome to discuss the plan, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) said on Wednesday.

Two men exonerated by DNA evidence in gang rape sue Hammond, Indiana State Police

The day police arrested Roosevelt Glenn in 1990, he thought the meeting called at the Luria Brothers sheet steel plant was about the man he’d pulled from a conveyer earlier that day.
When men in suits walked in the room, he said Wednesday, Glenn figured they must have been company representatives. He wondered if the man was OK, or if he was going to get a safety award for his actions. Instead, they were Hammond police officers arresting him for allegedly participating in a gang rape.
“Then they began to name names and they called my name, ‘Glenn,’” he said. “I was so excited that I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s me, I’m Glenn.’ They said, ‘Get on the ground.’ That’s like a nightmare to me. I still see that.”

Update to Several Open NIJ Solicitations – NIJ Funding Update

NIJ has updated several solicitations (listed below) with instructions for submitting environmental documentation, commonly known as the “NEPA checklist,” with your grant application, if the checklist is required.
NIJ is making this checklist and associated instructions available to you in an effort to streamline the application process and to avoid post-award withholding conditions, related to NEPA, where possible.
Please carefully review the instructions and submit the completed and signed checklist, if appropriate, with your grant application.

MT Innocence Project reacts to decision in 1994 murder convictions

MISSOULA – It took seven years from the time the Montana Innocence Project first took a look at the case of Paul Jenkins and Freddie Lawrence, who were convicted of the 1994 murder of Donna Meagher and the robbery of the Jackson Creek Saloon.
Lewis and Clark Co. District Judge Kathy Seeley ordered the convictions in a decades-old murder case vacated Friday and ordered a new trial. It was an exciting day for the lawyers who didn’t give up.

This week in science history: The dark lady of DNA dies

The Nobel Committee does not make posthumous prize nominations, but if it did, British chemist and researcher Rosalind Franklin, who died on April 16, 1958, is widely regarded as a deserving recipient.

Judge overturns convictions of two men sentenced for 1994 Jefferson County murder

Freddie Joe Lawrence and Paul Kenneth Jenkins, two men serving life sentences for the killing of a Jefferson County woman in 1994, had those convictions overturned Friday morning following five years of work by the Montana Innocence Project.
Donna Meagher was working at the Jackson Creek Saloon near Montana City on Jan. 11, 1994, when she disappeared after working a night shift. More than $2,000 had been stolen from the casino and Meagher’s pickup was missing. Her body was found the next day off of Colorado Gulch Road west of Helena.