Man sues af­ter DNA mis­take leads to ar­rest

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Kirk Mitchell

A Den­ver man has sued crime an­a­lysts, claim­ing he was wrongly ar­rested and held in jail for two months for a rape charge car­ry­ing a pos­si­ble life sen­tence af­ter the lab work­ers mis­tak­enly at­tached the wrong la­bels on con­tain­ers hold­ing DNA.

A fed­eral law­suit was filed Mon­day on be­half of Shawn­non Hale, 26, by Den­ver at­tor­neys David Lane and Eu­doxie “Du­nia” Dickey against Den­ver crime lab­o­ra­tory an­a­lysts Eric Du­vall and Brian Pirot, claim­ing false ar­rest in vi­o­la­tion of his con­sti­tu­tional rights. The charges were dis­missed, and Hale was re­leased from jail af­ter the Den­ver district at­tor­ney’s of­fice said his DNA was la­beled in­cor­rectly as be­ing part of a rape kit taken dur­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and said the mis­take was akin to “a cler­i­cal er­ror.”

The law­suit says one or

brighton» Po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing af­ter a woman was found scream­ing and with se­vere head wounds overnight Mon­day in the park­ing lot of her town­home com­plex.

Of­fi­cers re­spond­ing just af­ter mid­night found the 50-year-old woman ly­ing be­tween two ve­hi­cles at the Ster­ling Park Town­homes, in the 4200 block of East Brom­ley Lane.

The woman was taken to both of the crime lab an­a­lysts al­legedly switched vials of DNA taken from a cig­a­rette Hale had smoked with a vial taken from a man who had sex with the al­leged vic­tim, the law­suit says.

Hale is seek­ing com­pen­satory and puni­tive dam­ages, at­tor­neys’ fees and a writ­ten apol­ogy.

The law­suit ac­cuses the ex­perts of “grossly neg­li­gent state­ments” in an ev­i­den­tiary re­port claim­ing that vagi­nal DNA sam­ples taken from the vic­tim’s rape kit matched the plain­tiff ’s DNA “when in fact it did not.”

Lane said the lab tech­ni­cians have not apol­o­gized for their mis­take, but even if they even­tu­ally ad­mit they made a mis­take, there is no ex­cuse for what they did.

“When you are in that po­si­tion and some­one’s fate is in your hands, hon­est mis­takes are not tol­er­ated,” Lane said.

“You are held to a higher standard.” a hospi­tal for treat­ment. In­for­ma­tion on her con­di­tion was not re­leased.

Po­lice have re­leased few de­tails in the case and are ask­ing for the pub­lic’s help in de­ter­min­ing what hap­pened to the woman. Any­one with in­for­ma­tion is asked to call 720-685-7336.

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Fer­nando Ros­ales, 34, was con­victed in Au­gust of se­cond-de­gree mur­der in the slay­ing of 30-year-old Sean Michael Cres­cen­tini. The sen­tence was handed down Fri­day.

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