Defense Attempts to Get Case Dismissed Due to Destruction of DNA Evidence

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In a status hearing on Jan. 27, defense attorney Dana Page requested the case get dismissed due to contamination of DNA evidence on the prosecution’s side.

Daquan Gray, 21, is being held for allegedly murdering Jaylyn Wheeler, 15, on May 16, 2018. The incident occurred on the 600 block of Alabama Avenue, SE. Gray is charged with first-degree murder while armed, possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, and carrying a pistol without a license outside of a home or business.

Page asked DC Superior Court Judge Maribeth Raffinan if the case against Gray could be dismissed under Title 16, which gives the defense the same right to view and observe evidence  as the prosecution.

In Gray’s case, DNA evidence on swabs had been destroyed in a second round of DNA testing due to the container it was stored in not being sealed properly, according to counsel. 

Before the contamination, the swabs had shown Gray and two other unknown contributors as part of the DNA. After the contamination of the swabs, it now only shows a partial profile for Gray and nothing for the other two unknown individuals. 

The defense argued that this DNA is unusable and there is nothing left for them to examine or test. 

However, the prosecution explained that one of the swabs is still intact and has not been altered as well as numerous other pieces of evidence that have not yet been tested. 

The prosecution said the case should not be thrown out because of the initial DNA testing which showed the DNA of Gray and two others. 

Judge Raffinan denied that defense’s motion to dismiss. 

Gray is currently released on home confinement.

The parties are scheduled to return for a motions hearing on March 24.

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