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Mistake at lab could affect 38 cases



Published: Sat, August 9, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

Associated Press

COLUMBUS

At least 38 closed cases could be affected by a DNA-related mistake at a central Ohio crime lab, a prosecutor said.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said this week that his office likely will notify the attorneys for the 38 defendants in closed cases that the outcome could be affected. One convicted felon already has asked for a new trial based on the mistake at the Columbus police crime lab.

The problem involves DNA reports that were submitted for criminal cases but were missing the statistical weight, which shows the probability that the DNA belongs to a certain person, according to The Columbus Dispatch .

Because people can share similar genetic patterns, statistical weight is needed to say whether others in the population also might match.

Police Chief Kim Jacobs reported the omission in March and said that 3,000 reports from July 2009 to last October would be reviewed.

Since then, crime-lab workers have determined that 288 reports were affected by the omission, said Deputy Chief Richard Bash, who oversees the lab. Eighty reports have been reissued, and 20 more are ready to go.

After reviewing the new information, O’Brien said “we believe we should send a notice, along with a copy of the supplemental lab report ... to 38 attorneys representing defendants on closed cases.”

O’Brien said the only legal action so far is from an attorney for Zeddrick Mann, who was found guilty by a jury in February of having a weapon under disability and possession of marijuana. At issue is the DNA sample from the handle of a handgun.


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