Skip to comments.San Jose Case Casts Doubts on DNA Evidence
Posted on 06/29/2014 12:27:31 PM PDT by nickcarraway
It looked bad for homeless alcoholic Lukis Anderson when DNA evidence tied him to a Silicon Valley millionaire's 2012 murder.
But when Anderson's lawyer proved that paramedics who had treated him on the streets of downtown San Jose inadvertently transferred his DNA to the Monte Sereno murder scene, she didn't just clear him. The case is believed to be the first in California and perhaps the nation in which DNA evidence was shown to have falsely placed an innocent person at the scene of a crime, lending credibility to defense lawyers who struggle to convince jurors to view DNA evidence more skeptically.
"Before, we just had hypotheticals, stuff that DAs would say was smoke and mirrors," said Deputy Public Defender Kelley Kulick, who handled the groundbreaking case. "Now, there is a case to support it."
The scene of the home invasion . in Monte Sereno, Calif., Nov. 30, 2012. (Patrick Tehan/Staff) The scene of the home invasion . in Monte Sereno, Calif., Nov. 30, 2012. (Patrick Tehan/Staff) Among defendants now pointing to Anderson's case in hope of clearing their own names are former Santa Clara County Supervisor George Shirakawa Jr., whose lawyers are challenging felony criminal charges that he was behind a fraudulent campaign mailer allegedly bearing his DNA on the stamp.
While others accused of a crime -- most famously exchange student Amanda Knox -- have used the so-called transference defense against DNA evidence with some success, those defendants weren't able to prove, as Anderson's attorneys did by establishing his alibi, that the DNA evidence had been compromised.
In the pivotal case, Anderson was arrested on murder charges after his DNA was found under the fingernail of Silicon Valley millionaire Ravi Kumra, who suffocated after thieves bound him during a 2012 home-invasion robbery at his gated Monte Sereno estate.
(Excerpt) Read more at mercurynews.com ...
DNA went out the window with nifong and Duke U lacrosse.
My trust is rusty anymore.
So my defense is:
I spat in the air; wind currents carried my DNA into the crime scene.
Or, I was there (or near there) traveling on a vacation; DNA that I left there was found in a crime scene search.
Or ... one of my girlfriends must have been near the scene at some time ...
I could understand hair follicles on someone’s clothing, or even blood stains present after transport.
I've long been aware that a murderer could PLANT evidence in compromising places picked up from other locations (hair from barbershops, cigarette butts from entrance ways...).
I think there have already been cases of killers planting misleading "evidence".
“How did the paramedics get his DNA under the deceased man’s fingernails?”
That’s what I’m wondering, but I’m too lazy to read the whole thing.
Nevertheless, if he encountered these paramedics and then they went to the crime scene, what are the odds that he would also have been the perp at that same crime scene? Unless this is a very small city I’d think that would provide reasonable doubt, esp. if the DNA was all they had on the guy.
CSI is a TV show not real life.
Kulick pursued every avenue to prove Anderson had nothing to do with the crime, eventually discovering medical records that show on the night Kumra died, Anderson was at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, where he had been taken by ambulance after passing out drunk in downtown San Jose.The paramedics used the same probe on both men. Such things should be disposable, otherwise you can transfer more than just DNA. Like HIV or other contagious diseases.
His DNA turned up at the murder scene only because paramedics inadvertently transferred it there, via a simple oxygen-monitoring probe they'd clipped first onto his finger and then onto the dead man's.
So this guy commits a home invasion robbery where the homeowner is murdered sometime earlier in the day, then arranges to have himself transported to the ER via ambulance where there is video of him arriving with the paramedics, then his earlier crime is discovered and he arranges for those same two paramedics respond to the crime scene and use the same finger clamp on the victim which was used earlier on the perp.
All of this just to establish his defense because he knew he would get arrested for the crime.
That’s a heck of a lot of moving parts to control for a petty their with brain damage to plan, let alone pull off to perfection. But I could see it happening on the next episode of CSI.
The “how it happened” seems reasonable:
Kulick pursued every avenue to prove Anderson had nothing to do with the crime, eventually discovering medical records that show on the night Kumra died, Anderson was at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, where he had been taken by ambulance after passing out drunk in downtown San Jose.
His DNA turned up at the murder scene only because paramedics inadvertently transferred it there, via a simple oxygen-monitoring probe they’d clipped first onto his finger and then onto the dead man’s.
And I didn’t think he’d done it or was “set up”. Just curious about the explanation.
So it clipped onto their fingers.
This is a typical reader manipulation article. No one is convicted, or even tried for that matter, on a single piece of evidence. What is the rest of the evidence against this guy?
Googling coverage of the case at the time he was arrested, the DNA evidence appears to be all that linked him to the crime.
Police agencies were convinced that they had a serial killer committing multiple murders due to the DNA found at the crime scenes. It was considered quite unusual, however, that the suspect was a woman.
Only later was it discovered that the woman whose DNA was found worked for the company that made the products which were used to collect DNA samples. Somehow the products had become contaminated with this woman's DNA.
Thanks for providing that quote! So it was the merest smidge of dna and they were going to convict (or did convict) the guy for murder.
I guess I better go read the whole article.
Those oxygen monitors always gross me out. Not only are they not disposable, but they don’t ever clean them.
Thanks, I stand corrected, although still a little skeptical. Murder scenes are messy, there should have been a lot of evidence unless it was a body drop. They should have clearly been able to deduce whether other evidence supported the DNA. Also, where are all the other suspects? You know, everyone else that wore that monitor.
>>a simple oxygen-monitoring probe<<
They are $30 to $40 each and you want them to be disposable?
If the earlier patient's DNA was still on it, it's an indication that it wasn't even WIPED between uses. The minimum should be that it gets a wipe-down with an alcohol swab.
Since the oxygen sensor works by measuring how different frequencies of light are absorbed by tissue, a thin, transparent, disposable cover could be developed for it.
How does DNA from an oxygen monitor get **under** the dead man’s fingernails?
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