A Pennsylvania genetic scientist testified today that DNA samples of two young girls’ clothing showed very high likelihoods of matching samples taken from resident Michael Gardner, a Falls Church resident on trial in Arlington Circuit Court on four felony counts of aggravated sexual battery and penetration.
Shortly before a lunch break, defense attorney Peter Greenspun moved to strike the testimony, arguing that “a significant question” existed about the proper “chain of custody” before the samples reached the witness, Mark Perlin, chief scientific officer for Cybergenetics. Arguments on the defense motion will be heard this afternoon.
Perlin had testified that a match between the underpants of a 10-year old victim of the alleged attack last June is 20.7 quadrillion times more probable with Gardner than with an unrelated Caucasian sample, 36.6 quadrillion times than with an unrelated African-American and 212 quadrillion times than with an unrelated Hispanic. A quadrillion is enumerated as 1,000,000,000,000,000.
A match between a sample taken from the pajama bottoms of an 11-year-old complainant and Gardner is 3.86 thousand times more probable than with an unrelated Caucasian person, Perlin stated.
With approximately six billion people alive today, the numbers are “a statement about the rarity” of such a match, Perlin said.
The 10-year-old girl testified Tuesday that Gardner had fondled and penetrated her genitals when she visited for a birthday sleepover party hosted by the defendant’s daughter. The 11-year-old girl testified Wednesday that Gardner fondled her at the same sleepover.
A third girl is scheduled to testify this afternoon on the charge that Gardner sexually assaulted her at the party.
Greenspun’s motion came after Perlin concluded his testimony and Judge Benjamin Kendrick dismissed the jury for lunch. Greenspun then moved to strike the testimony based on Perlin’s response to one of the defense’s final cross-examination questions. In his answer, Perlin stated that the samples had reached him from the Richmond headquarters of the Virginia Department of Forensic Science rather than directly from the DFR’s Manassas branch laboratory where the samples were analyzed.
A Manassas forensic scientist had testified Wednesday afternoon to having analyzed the samples provided to her by the Falls Church Police Department.