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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Duke Lacrosse Rape: Possible DNA Link?

updated: May 13, 2006.

Duke Lacrosse Rape CaseThe Herald-Sun reported this morning that there may be a possible DNA link in the Duke Lacrosse rape case:

Tissue found under the fingernail of an exotic dancer who claimed she was raped at a Duke University lacrosse party may match a player who was there, several well-placed sources said Wednesday.

Analyzing the tissue, scientists concluded it came from the same genetic pool and was "consistent" with the bodily makeup of one of 46 lacrosse players who gave DNA samples for testing, the sources said.

At the same time, scientists ruled out a possible match with any of the other 45 students, according to the sources.

If accurate, the fingernail tissue match would offer the first DNA evidence potentially linking the dancer and an alleged attacker.

But because a complete DNA pattern was not obtained from the tissue, it was not possible to match it with the nearly 100 percent certainty that DNA results usually offer, the sources added.

The dancer told police she clawed at three attackers as they raped and sodomized her for 30 minutes during the March 13-14 lacrosse house party at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd.

WRAL.com added this additional information:
The fingernail, found in a bathroom trash can, apparently belonged to the accuser, who told police that she clawed her attackers during the alleged struggle. The fingernail was taken from the house at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd., where the March 13 party was held.

Talking Points from The Abrams Report regarding this "DNA Bombshell" -

Thursday, Dan Abrams of MS-NBC's, The Abrams Report, provided additional information regarding the DNA link. He said that their sources reported the DNA did not match that of Reade Seligmann or Collin Finnerty.

The DNA test that was leaked "excluded" 45 of the 46 players. One player was not excluded, but the level of confidence in a match is not known. Using the word "consistent" to describe the DNA match is ambiguous at this point.

In the U.S.A., there are 13 loci (DNA locations) that are currently used for discrimination. It is not known how may loci the lab obtained from the tissue sample. The more loci that are known the greater the statistical probability of the match.

Mr. Abrams reported, the DNA matched the person from the police photo lineup (Image #5) that Ms. Mangum said she was 90% certain was her attacker. She said, "he looks just like him without the mustache."

Mr. Abrams said he knew who that player was. He was not going to reveal that information at this time.

Mr. Abrams then asked several times if the DNA match was to someone who lived in the house does that mean anything. Specifically, he asked, is there a chance of secondary transfer also called a casual transfer or passive transfer to the artificial fingernail because of how it was found? Without knowing where it came from on the fingernail, that question is difficult to answer.

Conclusions

Logically following Mr. Abrams line of questioning suggests that the DNA tissue sample might be linked to one of the three Duke lacrosse players who lived in the house.

Duke Lacrosse captains Matt Zash, Daniel Flannery and David Evans lived at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd. All three men are seniors. Evans is 23. Zash and Flannery are 22. Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty are both sophomores age 20.

It seems a little strange that a senior and two sophomores would be the three attackers. The senior captains are two or three years older than Seligmann and Finnerty. However, Flannery and Finnerty are both from Garden City, NY.

Additionally, the three captains, Evans, Zash, and Flannery talked to the police for 25 hours on March 16th without lawyers present.

Ms. Mangum said in her statement the attackers used the names, Adam, Bret, and Matt. But, she also said the players were using different names at different times.

Probable Cause Affidavit - dated March 27, 2006:
The victim stated she did not think the names the suspects were providing her were their own. She stated one male idendified himself as Adam, but everyone at the party was calling him Dan. In addition, the witness/co-worker stated the men at the party told her they were members of the Duke Baseball and Track Team to hide the true identity of their sports affiliation - Duke Lacrosse Team Members. In a non-custodial interview with Daniel Flannery, resident of 610 N. Buchanan and Duke Lacrosse Team Captain; Mr. Flannery admitted using an alias to make the reservation to have the dancers attend the Lacrosse Team Party.

The issue of secondary transfer of DNA to the fingernail must also be considered. It seems possible that the adhesive backing from a fake press-on fingernail could pick up some contamination if it's thrown into a bathroom trash can and allowed to sit there for several days.

The prosecution would dispute that possibility, from the Probable Cause Affidavit:
During a search warrant at 610 N. Buchanan on 3-16-2006 the victim's four red polished fingernails were recovered inside the residence consistent to her version of the attack. She claimed she was clawing at one of the suspect's arms in an attempt to breathe while being strangled. During that time the nails broke off.

UPDATE: Witness Intimidation by DA Mike Nifong?

Lacrosse defense witness arrested - Cabbie questioned in 2003 incident [NewsObserver.com, May 11, 2006]

Moezeldin Elmostafa

DURHAM - A Durham police detective investigating the Duke University lacrosse case arrested an alibi witness Wednesday on a 2 1/2-year-old misdemeanor warrant.

Taxi driver Moezeldin Elmostafa said Investigator R.D. Clayton and another officer asked whether he had anything new to tell them about the rape case before driving him to the Durham County jail. He said no and was held for five hours, until a friend posted his bail on a shoplifting charge.

Ernest Conner, a Greenville lawyer who represents defendant Reade Seligmann, said the cabbie's arrest amounted to intimidation. "It appears to me they are trying to pressure a witness who supports our defendant's rock-solid alibi," Conner said.

Linwood Wilson, an investigator for the Durham District Attorney's Office, denied the allegation of witness intimidation.

links:
First DNA link possible in lacrosse case [HeraldSun.com, May 11, 2006]
Lawyers split on lacrosse reports [HeraldSun.com, May 11, 2006]
Sources: Second DNA Tests Link Accuser To Third Duke Lacrosse Player [WRAL.com, May 11, 2006]

Duke Lacrosse Rape: Credibility of Crystal Gail Mangum [TJN, May 9, 2006]
Duke Lacrosse Rape: The Faulty Lineup [TJN, May 5, 2006]
Duke Lacrosse Player Speaks Out [TJN, May 3, 2006]
Duke Rape Case: Prosecutor Mike Nifong Shares Evidence with Black Panthers [TJN, May 2, 2006]
Duke Lacrosse Rape Case: More Evidence for Defense [TJN, May 2, 2006]
Duke Lacrosse Rape: Defense wants DA Nifong thrown off case [TJN, May 2, 2006]
Duke Lacrosse Rape: Were Digital Photos tampered with? [TJN, May 1, 2006]
Open Letter to Crystal Gail Mangum [TJN, April 30, 2006]
Duke Lacrosse Rape - Accuser Crystal Gail Mangum says she was raped by three men in 1993 [TJN, April 28, 2006]
Duke Lacrosse Rape: Money at Center of Dispute [TJN, April 27, 2006]
Who Robbed Crystal Gail Mangum? [TJN, Apr. 25, 2006]
Duke Lawyer seeks Mangum's Records [TJN, Apr. 24, 2006]
Duke Rape Accuser: Crystal Gail Mangum [TJN, Apr. 21, 2006]
Duke Lacrosse Rape Timeline [TJN, Apr. 21, 2006]
Duke Rape Case: Emotional & Legal Fire Storm [TJN, Apr. 20, 2006]
Duke Rape Case: The Squirm Factor [TJN, Apr. 19, 2006]
Two Duke Lacrosse Players Are Arrested and Charged [TJN, Apr. 18, 2006]
Duke Lacrosse Athletes tested in gang rape inquiry [TJN, Mar. 18, 2006]

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