Defense attorney, crime lab chief spar over DNA evidence at Naha rape trial
June 30, 2005
NAHA, Okinawa — The Okinawa Prefectural Police Department’s crime lab chief spent six hours on the stand Tuesday defending results of DNA profiling tests reportedly linking former Marine Dag Allen Thompson, a Kadena Exchange New Car Sales employee, to the rapes of two Japanese women.
Eiko Uchima said there was no break in procedure and no indication of any tampering with semen samples from two scenes and saliva swabbed from Thompson’s mouth when he was arrested in October.
Thompson, 31, has pleaded not guilty to two charges each of rape and burglary.
Uchima said the DNA profile of semen samples taken from the home of a 27-year-old Naha woman in June 1998 matched that of DNA extracted from semen collected as evidence in the Aug. 22 rape of a 21-year old woman in her Chatan home. Both samples matched Thompson’s DNA, he said.
But defense attorney Toshimitsu Takaesu said he doubted the source of the evidence in the 1998 case.
Uchima admitted no official documentation exists of DNA testing on semen he said was collected in that case. Because there was no suspect against which to match the DNA profile, he said, the procedure then was to preserve the evidence should it be needed at a later date.
Uchima said, however, he did perform a DNA profile on the 1998 evidence, noting it in his personal notebook, which was introduced as evidence Tuesday.
He said he remembered the earlier case when processing evidence in the Chatan case because the DNA profile indicated the offender was Caucasian.
The victim in the Chatan case identified her attacker as Caucasian and provided police with a description that eventually led to Thompson’s arrest. Uchima said he then requested a DNA sample from the older Naha case, tested it and found it matched the Chatan DNA.
Takaesu argued sufficient doubt existed concerning the 1998 evidence. He moved to have it dismissed. The three-judge panel in Naha District Court said it would decide on his motion at the next session of Thompson’s trial, set for July 12.
Chiyomi Sumida contributed to this report.