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Nonhuman DNA Criminal Cases

 

 

 

While the use of human DNA in criminal cases is widespread, nonhuman DNA found at a crime scene can be also be important in helping to solve a case. Below are decisions where plant DNA, animal DNA and viral DNA have been found to be admissible in criminal cases. If you know of any recent decisions regarding nonhuman DNA in criminal cases please contact us so we can include copies of the rulings here.

  1. State v. Bogan, 183 Ariz. 506, 905 P.2d 515 (Ariz.App. Div. 1, Apr 11, 1995) (NO. 1CA-CR93-0453) (PCR based RAPD technology for plant DNA ruled admissible in a murder case) bogan.PDF
  2. U.S. v. Boswell, --- F.3d ----, 2001 WL 1223128 (8th Cir.(Iowa), Oct 16, 2001) (NO. 00-4005) (PCR testing on swine DNA ruled admissible in a criminal case) boswell.PDF
  3. State v. Schmidt, 97-249 (La.App. 3 Cir. 7/29/97), 699 So.2d 448 (La.App. 3 Cir., Jul 29, 1997) (NO. K97-249)(DNA testing of HIV virus ruled admissible in an attempted murder case) schmidt.PDF
  4. State v. Schmidt, 99-1412 (La.App. 3 Cir. 7/26/00), 771 So.2d 131 (La.App. 3 Cir., Jul 26, 2000) (NO. 99-1412) )(DNA testing of HIV virus ruled admissible in an attempted murder case) schmidt.PDF
  5. Beamish v. Her Majesty The Queen, In the Supreme Court-Appeal Division for the Province of Prince Edward Island, Docket # AD-0693 & 7/22/99 (DNA testing of cat hair ruled admissible in a murder case) beamish.PDF
  6. State v. Demers , 167 Vt. 349, 707 A.2d 276 (Vt., Dec 26, 1997) (NO. 96-452)(Results from DNA testing of a deer used to obtain a search warrant) deamers.PDF
  7. Washington v. Tuilefano & Lealuaialii , Superior Court of Washington for King County, No. 97-1-01391-3SEA & 96-1-08245-9SEA, 1/5/98 (dog DNA testing and canine database ruled admissible in a double homicide trial). tuilefano.PDF
  8. On appeal the Washington court ruled that it was error to allow the statistics on the dog DNA.  lealuaialii.PDF
  9. California v. Westerfield, Superior Court of California for San Diego County, 7/1/02 (mtDNA testing of dog hairs ruled not novel and admissible). westerfield.PDF
  10. Huck v. Florida , District of Appeals of Florida, 5 th District, No. 5D03-1906, July 16, 2004. (mtDNA testing of dog hairs used in a murder case no admissibility issue). huck.PDF
  11. Illinois v. Michael Slover, Jr., et al, App. Ct. Illinois, 4th District, NO. 4-02-0892,  The Court affirmed an order releasing cat hairs for DNA testing to the doctor who performed DNA testing on canine hairs in the defendants' murder case. Slover.pdf
  12. People v. Sutherland, Illinois Supreme Court, # 99047, 9/21/06, Admissibility of the mtDNA evidence was not at issue on appeal but the trial court ruled it was admissible pursuant to Frye. Sutherland.PDF
  13. Com. v. Treiber, 582 Pa. 646, 874 A.2d 26 Pa.,2005, Dog DNA from hair was used against the defendant in the arson/murder of his daughter. Treiber.PDF
  14. Stroud v. Indiana, Indiana Supreme Court, No. 71S00-0011-DP-00642, 5/25/04, an expert testified that dog DNA from feces found on a pair of shoes and the feces from the ground at the scene of a triple murder were likely from the same animal. Stroud.PDF
  15. People v. Ige, Court of Appeals of California, Fourth District, Division One No. D055893, 9-10-10, an admissibility hearing on canine mtDNA was not required because the process of mtDNA comparisons has long been used with humans, was not novel and was already accepted by the relevant scientific community. Ige.pdf


Below are additional criminal investigations where nonhuman DNA was helpful in the resolution of the case:

  1. Daniel McGowan - along with three other men, broke into the West Yorkshire, UK home of Brian Keating and beat him to death. DNA from dog hairs found on the victim matched other dog hairs found in McGowan’s van and belonged to a dog in McGowan’s possession. Four men were found guilty and sentenced to prison for their roles in the murder. News Reprot re McGowan.pdf
  2. Lawrence J. Cseripko - murdered Paul J. Horvat Jr. in 1997 in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. The case went unsolved until DNA testing proved an identical genetic match between venison taken from Cseripko's freezer and deer entrails and blood found near the victim's body. Cseripko was found guilty in 2005 and is serving a life sentence. News Report re Cseripko.pdf
  3. Andy Rich - murdered John Helble and stole his gun collection and ammunition. Rich pled guilty to manslaughter and robbery after detectives located Helble’s stolen guns and ammunition box where Rich lived. A dog hair found inside the box identically matched Helble’s dog. News Report re Rich.pdf
  4. Rufus Sito Nanez III - was convicted of a rape he committed in Dumas, Texas and was sentenced to three life terms after tests showed dog feces found on his shirt matched DNA from the victim's pet. The rape occurred in the victim’s backyard after a fight. News Report re Nanez.pdf
  5. Patrick Ramsey - raped and murdered an elderly woman in her home in Crawford County, Pennsylvania. Four dog hairs were recovered at the crime scene. Ramsey was arrested after using the victim’s credit card and police found some of the victim’s jewelry in his possession. DNA from one of the hairs matched a dog living in Ramsey's house. Ramsey pled guilty to first degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison. News Report re Ramsey.pdf
  6. Ben O'Donnell - murdered Tracy Carson, wrapped her in a bolt of fabric from his grandmother’s house, partially burned her and then buried her body. She was found six months later and DNA from cat hairs found on the bolt of fabric were compared to three cats from O'Donnell's grandmother’s home. These cats could not be excluded as the source of the hairs. When confronted by this evidence and blood traces with matching DNA profiles to the victim in the truck of his car, O'Donnell pled guilty to second-degree murder. Report re O'Donnell.pdf
  7. William Faulconer - bludgeoned 81 year-old Daniel Schraeder and Schraeder’s dog to death. DNA testing established that blood on Faulconer's jeans was a mixture of the victim's and the dog’s blood. Faulconer pled guilty to murder. News Report re Faulconer.pdf
  8. Charles Martinez and Chris Faviel - murdered a woman, wrapped her in plastic, and transported her to a shallow grave in the New Mexico desert. A dog hair was found on her sock. DNA from the hair matched DNA from the men’s dog. Martinez was tried and convicted of murder and Faviel pled guilty. Paper re Martienez and Faviel.pdf
  9. Wayne Williams - was convicted of the murders of two men in Atlanta, Georgia in 1982. The evidence included hairs found on the victims that were consistent with hair taken from Williams' family dog. Post-conviction DNA testing of the dog hairs identically matched William’s dog’s DNA profile. News Report re Williams.pdf
  10. Soum Laykham - broke into an elderly woman’s home and attempted to rape her. The victim and her Shih Tzu dog were able to fight him off. Dog hair was later found on the intruder’s pants. DNA from those hairs matched the victim’s Shih Tzu dog. Laykham was convicted of burglary and attempted rape. News Report re Laykham.pdf
  11. Richard Ramirez, Javen Anthony, and Stanley Cruz - murdered Guillermo Carvajal and wrapped his body in a blanket with numerous dog hairs. DNA from those hairs matched a dog owned by one of the murderers. The defense stipulated to the canine DNA evidence and the defendants were convicted and sentenced to life in prison. News Report re Ramirez.pdf
  12. John Taylor - raped and murdered teenager Leanne Tiernan in Leeds, UK. Her body, discovered in a wooded area, had dog hairs on it. A partial DNA profile was developed but unfortunately, the dog Taylor owned at the time of the murder had died. This was the first time dog DNA had been used in a British criminal case. News Report re Taylor.pdf
  13. Duane Daniels - stabbed George Napier to death after Napier refused to let Daniels’ friend into a club in southeast London. During the attack, Daniels' friend, Spencer Sheppard, set his pit-bull terrier on the victim. The dog was stabbed in the fight and police followed the trail of blood to Sheppard’s house. DNA from the blood at the scene matched the DNA from Sheppard’s dog. The evidence was used to arrest Daniels, Sheppard, Sheppard's brother, Louis, and a fourth suspect, Daniel Clark. Daniels was convicted of murdering Napier and was given life in prison. The Sheppard brothers and Clark pled guilty to conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm. News Report re Daniels.pdf
  14. John Baker - was cattle rustling in Tulare County, California. DNA samples from his bull, a cow belonging to other rancher, and from a calf born to the cow provided conclusive evidence that Baker's bull had sired the calf, and that the cow had been on Baker's ranch for over a year. He was convicted of eleven counts of grand theft of cattle, one count of forgery, and one count of altering a brand. He got 60 months of probation, a year in county jail and an order to pay a restitution of $22,000 to five cattle ranchers. News Report re Baker.pdf
  15. DNA tracking - Conservation à la carte, 3-1-07 News story re poaching.pdf
  16. Genetics help Argentine police beat cattle rustlers, 12-30-08 News story re rustling.pdf
  17. Philippe Padieu - was found guilty in Collin County, Texas, of six counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for transmitting HIV to six women after he knew he was HIV-positive. Phylogenetic analysis and DNA sequencing were used on blood samples from each of the six victims and the defendant to show that the HIV strain from Padieu was most likely the source of all of the other infections. Padieu.PDF
  18. Michael Haydon - a Portage County, Wisconsin judge allowed evidence of DNA testing on dog hair which tied the defendant to the cab of a truck where the truck driver was found dead in the first-degree intentional homicide trial. New Report re Haydon.pdf
  19. Lordtyshon Garrett - was charged with felony animal cruelty in Brooklyn, NY, for stabbed his mother-in-law's cat to death with an umbrella. The cat's DNA was found on the umbrella. News Report re Garrett.pdf
  20. Chrisdian Johnson – deployed two dogs as weapons to attack the victim before he repeatedly stabbed and beat to the victim to death. One dog, who was owned by Johnson, left a blood trail when he and his owner ran away from the scene. When police arrested Johnson, his victim's blood was on his hands and there was also blood from his dog on his body. Saliva from the other dog was discovered on torn clothing found at the crime scene. DNA from both dogs was used as evidence and a dog DNA database was used to show that the probability of seeing the same DNA in another dog is less than one in a billion. Johnson was found guilty of murder. News Report re Johsno.pdf
  21. Abusers Plead Guilty Because of Dog DNA Database - a dog-fighting DNA database helped investigators piece together abused animals’ history by establishing ties among breeders, owners, pit operators and the animals themselves. The DNA evidence led to at least 17 guilty pleas and 400 pit bull dogs being rounded up in what became the largest dog-fighting raid in U.S. history. abusers-plead-g.pdf
  22. Angelo Monderoy - was found guilty of aggravated animal cruelty, burglary and arson in a case where he took a defenseless cat to an empty apartment and lit it on fire. DNA from a sample of the burnt tissue found in the apartment and DNA from the cat was a positive match. Monderoy.pfd
  23. Henry Lee Polk – convicted of first-degree murder after he was linked to the crime by cat hair. The victim was found with his throat slashed and his pockets turned inside out. Cat hairs recovered from the victim’s pockets were DNA tested and were a genetic match to two cats from Polk's home. News Report re Polk.pdf
  24. Philong Huynh - was convicted of first-degree murder after he was linked to the crime by dog hair. The victim’s body had been dumped in an alley and was found wrapped in a blanket. It was later determined through DNA testing that dog hairs found on the blanket came from Huynh’s mother’s dog. News report Huynh.pdf
  25. David Hilder – was convicted of manslaughter in the UK after investigators identified DNA from cat hairs discovered on the dismembered torso of David Guy matched Hilder’s cat. The UK's first cat DNA database was created to determine the weight of the match as evidence. Hilder was sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum term of 12 years before he is eligible for parole. Hilder.pdf Hilder.mp4 Hilder.wmv
  26. Matthew Riley - was convicted of killing his parents in Sacramento California in 2011. The 2008 double homicide went unsolved for three years until DNA from the couple’s dog was developed from a hair found in Riley’s boot. The Dog DNA was part of the evidence the jury used to find Riley guilty of the murders. Riley Dog DNA.wmv Riley Dog DNA.mp4 Riley Dog DNA.mov

For more information on Nonhuman DNA in criminal investigations see: