Allegation Against Scientist Means DNA Retests In 64 Cases

Authorities: Lab Worker Failed To Conduct Follow-Up Tests

The Marion County prosecutor's office has ordered retests of DNA samples in 64 criminal cases following allegations that a county crime-lab scientist failed to observe testing protocol.

The office says the scientist apparently didn't conduct required follow-up tests to verify primary testing done in connection with the cases. The scientist no longer works for Marion County's crime lab, RTV6's Jack Rinehart reported Friday.

A probe began when a lawyer filed an appeal in a criminal case, alleging that not every protocol was followed during DNA testing relating to the case, Rinehart reported.

Local authorities say they don't believe any of the 64 cases will be affected by the retesting. They maintain the scientist produced accurate test results.

"The fact that (a follow-up test) wasn't done in no way, shape or form indicates that there was something wrong with the (first) test; it just didn't have the additional verification that the scientists say you should do to be sure," said John Commons, chief of staff for the prosecutor's office.

Of the 64 cases -- most of which involve rapes and slayings -- only four are still awaiting trial. In the other 60, the majority of the defendants pleaded guilty, according to the prosecutor's office.

The retesting will be performed to remove any doubt, the prosecutor's office said.

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