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Friday, June 13, 2003

DNA Evidence Frees Three

From Ms. TalkLeft, we get this AP account of what ought to be a big story out on Long Island. Two girls murdered, one girl missing and presumed dead, two of the cases unsolved, and now three guys convicted of one of the murders have been released (pending review and, perhaps, a new trial) based on newly discovered and newly tested DNA evidence.

OK, here are the NY Times and Long Island's Newsday.

Our special interest right now is, what forensic evidence other than sperm linked these men to the crime? From the NY Times, we do not get a mention of anything. The AP says this:

Two hairs found in Restivo's van were similar to those of the victim. Scheck has called the linking of people to crimes through microscopic comparison of hair samples ''junk science.''

However, Newsday is deeply intriguing:

A strand of [victim Theresa Fusco] Fusco's hair was also found in Restivo's van and testing showed it had come from Fusco shortly after her death, consistent with the prosecution theory that the murder and rape took place in the van, and the body was dumped shortly afterward.

However, hair analysis has improved and now it shows that the hair had come off Fusco's head at least eight hours after her death, which would have been inconsistent with the prosecution's theory and raises questions about how the hair got in the van.

Emphasis added. And my question is, why is this story not big enough to get real coverage?

UPDATE: Newsday is going to own this story:

Cops Probing 2 Other Cases

Other Evidence in Question

Untwisting a Trio's Tangled Web, June 12, Paul Vitello

Second Look Finds Freeing Evidence, June 18, Robin Topping

Key tidbit - the body was discovered three weeks after the murder. Her hair, found in one of the suspect's van, was either from eight hours after she died, or at least eight hours after she died. The distinction is clearly important, since the defense claims the police planted it.

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