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27-Jul-2015

Virginia man pleads guilty to killing elderly Colonial Heights couple

Colonial Heights, VA

Joseph and Evelyn Bland, Colonial Heights residents aged 84 and 80, were found dead in their Virginia home in January of 2011. Matthew Brady was arrested for the crime a week later. DNA potentially linked items stolen from the home to Brady.

The 2010 SWGDAM guidelines had introduced a second interpretation threshold that led to Virginia's reevaluation of 375 cases with DNA mixture evidence. Cybergenetics issued TrueAllele® reports on 72 of those cases, including the Bland homicide. Cybergenetics provided match statistics for DNA mixtures from a stolen gold earring and hundred dollar bills, as well as Brady's T-shirt.

Brady challenged TrueAllele's admissibility in a weeklong July hearing held two years ago. At the end of that week, Judge Sharrett ruled TrueAllele to be reliable under Virginia's Spencer-Frye standard, and admitted the DNA results into evidence. After two further years of motions and delay, Brady pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of robbery.


Links
  • Virginia reevaluates DNA evidence in 375 cases - Newspaper
  • TrueAllele Casework on Virginia DNA Mixture Evidence: Computer and Manual Interpretation in 72 Reported Criminal Cases - Journal Article
  • TrueAllele Admissibility - Admissibility
  • Former neighbor pleads guilty in bludgeoning deaths of elderly couple - Newspaper
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