Articles Posted in DNA Analysis

In 2011, a woman who is now 41 years old was allegedly raped near a playground at Jessie Loomis Elementary School by someone she claimed was following her. Now, a judge in the case is asking for additional DNA information after the woman could not identify 21-year-old Kevin D. Champion Jr., her alleged attacker.

According to a news article at, reports which were introduced at Champion’s March 24 preliminary hearing regarding crime lab test results from Michigan State Police were not specific enough. The DNA sample taken from Champion when the defendant was placed into the prison system matches a semen stain found on the victim’s hoodie, however Saginaw County District Judge Kyle Higgs Tarrant said that she was not comfortable with the lack of definitiveness.

Champion was charged with armed robbery, extortion, second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a weapon, kidnapping, and three counts of first-degree CSC involving a weapon after allegedly attacking the victim, who had purchased an item for her neighbor at the T & M Market and was walking back toward her home at approximately 9 p.m. The victim claimed her attacker dragged her near the school’s playground area after placing her in a headlock.

She testified in court that she could not see all of her attacker’s face because of the hoodie he wore, and that he was armed with a silver gun which he threatened to hurt her with if she wasn’t quiet. The woman alleged that her attacker took her money and cell phone after taking off her shoes. He then proceeded to remove her pants before raping her.

Saginaw Police Officer Jonathon Beyerlein responded after one of the victim’s friends called 911. At trial, he testified that the victim could not identify Champion; two years later, she still could not identify him in a photo lineup after authorities had determined that the first DNA sample taken from Champion matched the evidence found on the woman’s hoodie. Champion is 5′ 8″ tall and weighs 145 pounds, however the woman described her attacker as about 5′ 6″ tall and weighing about 140 pounds. While she described him as tall, she explained during her testimony that because she is under 5 feet tall, someone who is 5′ 6″ is tall in comparison. The woman also described her attacker as “light skinned,” a description the defendant’s attorney said was a matter of opinion.

The remainder of Champion’s preliminary hearing has been postponed until the results of the second DNA swab are obtained, which Saginaw County Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Barnes said could take three to six months.

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Last month the Detroit Free Press ran a series exposing a serious problem affecting all of those interested in criminal justice – the overwhelming backlog of cases requiring biological testing – including DNA testing – which is often the key to freedom for those wrongfully accused and convicted.

Today the South Bend Tribune echoed that sentiment, calling for the elimination of Michigan’s serious backlog of thousands of forensic cases.

As a Michigan sex crimes defense attorney, I agree. According to the Detroit FreePress,10,500 untested rape kits existed at the beginning of 2010. The number has since grown. In spite of this backlog, Michigan has passed legislation to collect DNA from all those arrested for felonies, but not yet tried or convicted. Rather than expanding the number of people subjected to DNA analysis, emphasis should be placed on processing rape kits and other samples. Often, DNA analysis is the key to freedom for those wrongfully convicted.

DNA evidence freed Kenneth Wyniemko who was imprisoned for nine years for a rape he didn’t commit.

DNA evidence freed Rickie Seggie, an innocent Sterling Heights man headed for trial on charges of criminal sexual assault.

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