A few surprises were finally revealed at today’s bond reduction hearing for defendant Robert Springsteen, Jr., during which the state and defense were given the opportunity to address DNA testing information contained in each side’s recently filed affidavits. “I want you to take the (DNA) results and tell me why the results are significant, from your position,” Judge Mike Lynch told the lawyers.
What we’ve known so far: March 2008 Y-STR DNA testing (not available in 2000) results from vaginal swabs of Amy Ayers obtained at the crime scene and the medical examiner’s office contain profiles of an unknown male, not consistent with any of the four original defendants. The state’s DNA lab, Fairfax, conducted those tests (plus tests from Eliza Thomas and Sarah Harbison, which yielded no results.) No DNA tests were conducted by the state on Jennifer Harbison.
What we didn’t know: according to defense attorney Joe James Sawyer, since that March 2008 testing, the state has not retested ANY other evidence!
Also using Y-STR, the defense’s DNA lab, Orchid Cellmark, then tested vaginal swabs from Eliza Thomas (no results) and Jennifer Harbison. Jennifer Harbison’s results show a mixture of two male DNA profiles, one consistent with her boyfriend, the other unknown.
That unknown male DNA profile from Jennifer Harbison is consistent with the unknown male DNA profile from Amy Ayers and is not consistent with any of the four original defendants. The state actually agrees with this, based on their DNA expert’s review of the defense lab’s testing. The state questions the reliability of the boyfriend’s DNA, but the defense lab reports it’s present in a mixture on both Sarah and Jennifer Harbison.
According to the defense, the presence of this unknown male DNA, which has been compared to more than 100 firefighters, police, medical examiner’s office personnel, etc, proves that neither Robert Springsteen nor Michael Scott nor Forrest Wellborn nor Maurice Pierce committed these brutal murders.
And even if one WERE to still believe those four guys were involved, the presence of a fifth guy (which is what the new DNA testing indicates) has never been mentioned by witnesses in the first round of trials or in either Springsteen’s or Scott’s alleged “confessions.” The state doesn’t seem to have an explanation when challenged by the defense to answer “who is this fifth guy?”