Daily Archives: August 31, 2018

Cassano case: Cigarette butt sealed deal

URBANA — A commercial genetic genealogy company that relies on science and public records, combined with old-fashioned detective work, led to the arrest Tuesday of a Mahomet man for one of the most horrendous Champaign County murders in modern history.

Under the Microscope – Greg Hampikian

Since 2016, the authors have been funded by a DOJ Bloodsworth Grant to use probabilistic genotyping (TrueAllele) and other DNA analysis methods to help free the wrongfully convicted. They have helped overturn 3 convictions (a 4th expected soon). Working with the Montana Innocence Project, the authors helped exonerate two men in 2018 who were convicted of murder and had each served more than two decades in prison. In that case, new DNA analysis has led police to investigate a man who is already serving time for a similar crime.

In his presentation at ISHI, Greg Hampikian (Executive Director of The Idaho Innocence Project) will highlight past and current forensic practices that can lead to wrongful convictions, and show how reanalysis can overturn these wrongful convictions. He will also discuss the importance of separating evidence and reference samples, of photographing all serology and microscopy results, and avoiding potentially misleading jargon such as “sperm fraction,” and “very weak positive” without clear documentary evidence.

We sat down with Greg and asked him how cases are chosen by the Idaho Innocence Project and the steps involved in re-opening a case.