Accuracy of DNA evidence at issue in rape trial of Kadena new car salesman
April 14, 2005
NAHA, Okinawa — The prosecution in the double rape trial of Dag Allen Thompson proceeded Tuesday with the testimony of Japanese crime scene investigators.
Thompson, a new car salesman on Kadena Air Base, sat stoically as the witnesses testified how they collected spilled semen from the Naha home of a 27-year-old woman who said she was raped by an intruder in June 1998.
Okinawa’s police crime laboratory examined the samples for DNA profiling. In opening statements in January, the lead prosecutor said he planned to show that the DNA profile of the person who raped the Naha woman matches evidence collected in the home of a 21-year-old woman raped in Chatan on Aug. 22.
Both profiles will be shown to match Thompson’s DNA, prosecutors have said.
The three crime scene technicians were allowed to testify after Naha District Court Chief Judge Nobuyuki Yokota denied a defense motion to postpone their testimony until a third party can examine the DNA evidence.
Chief Defense Attorney Toshimitsu Takaesu contended in court Tuesday that an independent laboratory in the United States examined the Okinawa police DNA report and found serious flaws with the way the test was conducted. He asked the court to let Teikyo University in Tokyo examine the evidence.
He argued that allowing the crime-scene investigators to testify before a third party tests the evidence could jeopardize his case. A motion to allow such a new test is pending before the court.
“We have yet to obtain a consent from the court to re-examine the DNA,” Takaesu said after the hearing. “My client denies any involvement. It is his wish to re-examine the DNA testing. He says it is the only way to prove his innocence.”
Thompson, 31, a former Marine married to an Okinawan woman, is charged with burglary and rape in both cases. He has remained silent throughout the trial, refusing to answer questions put to him by the three-judge panel. Takaesu entered pleas of not guilty for him at the start of the trial in January.
At previous hearings, the alleged victim in the Chatan incident testified that she was asleep in her sister’s bed when someone disturbed her in the early morning hours of Aug. 22. She said she at first thought the man was her sister’s boyfriend, but when he refused to stop, she shone her cell-phone light in his face, revealing a heavy-set Caucasian.
Thompson later was identified from a police sketch. He has been in police custody since his Oct. 15 arrest.
The next hearing is set for April 26.
Chiyomi Sumida contributed to this report.