One of the keystones of forensic science is DNA testing. DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the genetic material present in every cell. Each individual has a Unique DNA Profile. There are even a few differences between the DNA of identical twins.
A British scientist, Sir Alec Jeffreys, developed DNA profiling in the 1980s. DNA for profiling can be extracted from samples of human cells found at a Crime Scene, including blood, semen, skin, saliva, mucus, perspiration and the roots of hair, and Profiling can even be carried out on old and dried out samples.
The case of Colin Pitchfork was the first murder conviction based on DNA profiling evidence (there was a previous rape conviction based on this type of evidence).
In 1986, another 15-year-old schoolgirl, Dawn Ashworth, was similarly sexually assaulted and strangled in the nearby village of Enderby, and semen samples showed the same blood type.
Richard Buckland, a local 17-year-old with learning disabilities who worked at Carlton Hayes psychiatric hospital, had been spotted near Dawn Ashworth’s murder scene and knew unreleased details about the body. In 1986, he confessed to Dawn Ashworth’s murder but not Lynda Mann’s.
Using Sir Alec Jeffreys’ new technique, scientists compared the semen samples with a blood sample from Richard Buckland. This proved that both girls were murdered by the same man, and also proved that this man was not Richard Buckland – the first person to be exonerated using DNA. . . Read More
"A jury should decide whether a school bus service is liable for dropping a 13-year-old girl off at the wrong bus stop, exposing her to harm from a man who had sexually abused her, the Iowa Court of Appeals has ruled in an unusual wrongful-death case.
Donnisha Hill's tragic death has resulted in murder convictions for her abuser, David Damm, and the man he hired to kill her. With the appeals court's decision, it could also lead to a damages award for her parents against the bus company, First Student, Inc.
On Oct. 27, 2006, a First Student driver allowed Donnisha to get off the bus at an intersection near Damm's car dealership in Waterloo, Iowa, rather than take her to a stop near her house where her mother could see her. Damm picked Donnisha up and took her to meet his friend, Bruce Burt, who later beat her to death with a small sledge hammer.
A Black Hawk County judge cut short a jury trial of the wrongful-death lawsuit last year, finding that First Student did not need to protect Donnisha from “any and all possible harm” resulting from contact with Damm and her murder was not within the “range of harms risked by the defendant's conduct.”
Police were investigating the abuse allegations at the time of the murder. The identifiable risk, First Student argued, was not that Damm would have Donnisha killed, but that he would again sexually abuse her.
But the appeals court said the risk did not have to be so specific to be within First Student's “scope of liability.” “The plaintiffs presented evidence that First Student was aware Donnisha's bus route was changed for her overall safety in general, not just to prevent further sexual abuse,” it noted in sending the case back for a new trial.
“[T]he risk that made First Student negligent was the general risk that Donnisha would come in contact with and be physically harmed by Damm,” the court concluded.
Donnisha's parents found out Oct. 11, 2006 that she was having sex with Damm, a neighbor. After calling the police and keeping her out of school for two weeks, her mother asked First Student to change her bus route to one closer to home. . . " Read More
How sad it is to read the article below involving rape, murder, and alleged cover ups in one of America's most revered voluntary organizations. Back in the 60's and 70's, we all heard and read about the great things which were being accomplished by the Peace Corps volunteers overseas.
What idealistic young person, bent on making their mark in the world, not to mention the opportunity to travel to a foreign land, could resist such temptation?
I can remember how I was determined, all the way through High School, then nursing school, to go into the Peace Corps. Nothing was going to stop me - at least, until I met my husband. I even told him, when we first met, I'm going into the Peace Corps!
Well, so much for that. Reality sets in, you meet someone and something clicks, goals change, feelings change, and we were married seven months later. But I never lost my admiration for those who traveled to foreign lands to help built homes, taught children, and provided medical care for the most desparate among us.
Looking back, I had always viewed them as something of a beacon of light among a world gone mad, it seemed at times, with malicious hatred and murderous intent. To have to read that those very volunteers, such as Katy Puzy and Deborah Gardnar, whose young idealism and spirit helped change the world, had themselves become victims of such vicious crime and corruption, is heart-breaking indeed.
But, to read that the very organization, which promoted those ideals, has allegedly been covering up such unspeakable brutality against its volunteers, is infuriating beyond description. How could they behave in such a manner? To what purpose did they (supposedly) engage in such deception? Just exactly who and what were they protecting?
"Writes a volunteer now serving in West Africa: It eats at me every single day that I have children being molested in my schools and feel like I can't say anything about it for fear of backlash or, obviously, worse."
I hate to say it, but the problems that came to light years ago with the Red Cross enters my mind right now. The Peace Corps has an annual budget of $400 million. So, I have to ask, how much of that $400 million budget is paid out in very nice salaries for the top people? Who is protecting what?
by Donna Trussel
On the night of March 11, 2009, a 24-year-old Peace Corps volunteer named Kate Puzey was tied up and knifed on the front porch of her house in West Africa. Her throat was cut. She was killed the way you would slaughter a goat, Puzey's cousin told ABC's "20/20" in a Jan. 15 broadcast. Kate Puzey was the 23rd volunteer to be murdered in Peace Corps history.
The killing took place just days after Puzey e-mailed her Peace Corps supervisorsabout a fellow teacher and Peace Corps employee. He was not an American, but rather a villager, or Host Country National. Puzey believed he was raping the female students at the school where they taught. Puzey asked that her report remain anonymous, for obvious reasons. But it just so happened that a relative of the accused teacher was employed by the local Peace Corps office.s when their dead daughter's belongings were unceremoniously delivered in a cardboard box.
Gang rapes and death threats to female Peace Corps volunteers have in the past been met with apathy from the Peace Corps, according to the victims interviewed by ABC. In August 2009, President Obama replaced the previous Peace Corps director with Aaron S. Williams. Just prior to the airing of the ABC investigation, the Peace Corps released a statement assuring the public that Williams improved the organization's response to sexual assault and other crimes.
As for the murder of Kate Puzey, the Peace Corps had no comment: "Peace Corps does not have a role in the ongoing investigation, but we have been assured that the Benin government is supporting the legal process necessary to conclude the investigation and begin a trial. The Department of State and the FBI have been working with the Benin authorities."
Good luck with that. In a 2004 study, Benin was found to be the "most corrupt out of 95 countries analyzed. . . " Read More
January 9, 2011
"The title of this post is my sentencing reaction to the tragic events that unfolded yesterday in Arizona when a young angry man went on a shooting rampage at the political event of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. This CBS report on the victims of the incident details that the "six people who died in Saturday's assassination attempt of an Arizona Congresswoman ranged from a highly-esteemed Federal judge to a child born on September 11, 2001" and that a total of 19 people were wounded at the shooting in Tucson."
"Early reports suggest that the shooter had some mental issues, but it does not appear that he would/will qualify as legally insane. And, no matter what the back-story of the offender, this kind of offense would appear to be exactly the kind of horrific violent senseless crime that calls for pursuing the ultimate punishment that a nation has. In the United States, it has long been clear that the people want the death penalty as an ultimate punishment, and I expect that this will be the way in which US Attorney General Eric Holder plans to seek justice."
UPDATE AND CLARIFICATION: " As detailed in this DOJ press release, "the United States Attorney for the District of Arizona, Dennis K. Burke, announced today that his office filed a federal complaint against Jared Lee Loughner [who] is suspected of shooting U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Chief Judge John Roll, Giffords' staff member Gabriel Zimmerman and approximately 16 others Saturday in Tucson, Ariz. The federal complaint alleges five counts against Loughner." The counts in the complaint are detailed in the DOJ press release."
13:06 23 December 2010 by Andy Coghlan
" A gene mutation linked with impulsivity and possible violent outbursts has been discovered in Finnish men convicted of violence and arson.
The mutation, in a gene called HTR2B, prevents production of the serotonin 2B receptor, a key docking point in brain cells for the neurotransmitter serotonin. One consequence could be depletion of serotonin in the nucleus accumbens, a part of the brain involved in providing restraint and foresight into the consequences of actions.
The mutation was three times as common in violent criminals as in the general population. Of 228 Finnish inmates serving sentences for violent crimes who were screened, 17 carried the mutation, compared with only 7 of 295 healthy controls.
Although the mutation appears confined to Finnish people, it could have counterparts in populations elsewhere, with similar negative consequences, say the researchers.
"We would anticipate that over time, a large number of functional variants [of HTR2B] will be identified, with a range of behavioural effects," says David Goldman at the US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in Bethesda, Maryland, and head of the team that carried out the work.
Impulsivity played a pivotal role in the criminal behaviour of all 17 prisoners carrying the mutation, who were convicted of crimes ranging from murder and attempted murder to arson, battery and assault. "The crimes occurred as disproportionate reactions to minor irritations and were unpremeditated, without potential for financial gain and recurrent," say the researchers in Nature. . . " Read More
BY Jonathan Lemire
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Friday, November 26th 2010, 4:00 AM
"The Staten Island teenager who was baby-sitting her boyfriend's 2-year-old son when he died was arrested Thursday - and the child's father also could face charges, police sources said.
Dubois, 18, admitted she shook Josiah but claims she did so only after the child stopped breathing, police said.
The city medical examiner ruled Josiah's death a homicide. Dubois, who was initially arrested for endangering the welfare of a child, could face additional charges, the police sources said.
The autopsy also revealed that Josiah had suffered injuries over an extended period of time.
Dubois blamed the boy's father, her boyfriend, whom she claimed had been beating the child, the sources said. Police were questioning the dad, 28-year-old Darrell Taylor, late yesterday.
Taylor told cops he was at work when the toddler lost consciousness, but investigators are trying to determine whether he - or another adult - previously injured the child, the sources said.
Dubois is to be arraigned today in Staten Island Criminal Court."
12:00 AM CDT on Saturday, September 18, 2010
By JENNIFER EMILY / The Dallas Morning News
"The Texas Forensic Science Commission rebelled Friday against its head commissioner, refusing to accept his draft report clearing arson investigators of misconduct or negligence in a 1991 fatal fire where flawed science was used to determine the blaze was intentionally set.
Cameron Todd Willingham was executed in 2004 for killing his three children by setting that blaze. Texas may have executed an innocent man on Gov. Rick Perry's watch if the fire was accidental.
"There's a lot of work to be done still," Tarrant County Medical Examiner Nizam Peerwani, a member of the commission, said after the meeting. "That's why the commission didn't approve the draft."
The commission instead plans to question arson experts at a future meeting about investigation standards at the time of the fire and will look into whether the investigators knew or should have known the science that led them to assume the fire was caused by arson was flawed. . . "
Posted by Edecio Martinez
SAN FERNANDO, Calif. (CBS/AP) "Antonio Rodriguez has been sentenced to death for sexually assaulting and beating to death his girlfriend's 5-year-old daughter, Desarie Saravia.
The 29-year-old southern California man was sentenced Thursday in a San Fernando courtroom for the 2004 attack. He was convicted in July of murder, torture and other charges.
Prosecutors say Rodriguez brutalized Desarie and her 6-year-old brother for months before he molested and beat the girl in a park restroom.
He'd taken the children to the park while their mother cleaned a house nearby.
Superior Court Judge Ronald S. Coen said during sentencing that Rodriguez had extinguished the light of an angel.
The girl's mother, 32-year-old Debby Saravia, is awaiting trial on murder and other charges."
Van der Sloot, a 22-year-old Dutch citizen, is jailed pending trial on charges of first-degree murder and robbery in the May 30 death of Peruvian student Stephany Flores, 21.
In an attempt to nullify a confession he gave police, van der Sloot claimed his civil rights were violated following his arrest. A judge Friday ruled his confession and detention stand.
His legal strategy now is to "paralyze the process," his lawyer, Maximo Altez, said." Read More
Certified Forensics Nurse Examiner and Independent Consultant