innocence blog

A Web log for the Innocence Institute of Point Park University

Monday, December 19, 2005

DNA Evidence: Man seeks DNA test to clear him in killing

Second of a Three Part Series

By Bill Moushey

The 1981 trial of John Dolenc, accused of killing his wife Patricia, was rife with factual controversies.

But his lawyer told the jury one thing was certain: Since Mr. Dolenc and his wife had the same blood type, there was no way to tie blood splatters found near her body to the former South Hills man.

"Well, I can stand here and say I want you to infer it's John because he had a cut on his finger," countered Kim Riester, the Allegheny County assistant district attorney who prosecuted Mr. Dolenc. "And then you decide if it was Patty's (blood), was it John's or somebody else's."
Mr. Dolenc was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Twenty-four years later, the same prosecutor's office under different leadership has fought Mr. Dolenc's request to conduct DNA tests on as many as 79 blood-stained specimens found at the crime scene.

DNA tests were not available in 1981, but now they could determine whether "it was Patty's (blood), was it John's or somebody else's."

To read the rest of this article follow this link.


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