TrueAllele solves uninterpretable DNA in mother and daughter double homicide

Back to Newsletters

January 2017 Newsletter


January 2017

Helping Justice through Better Science

TrueAllele® technology gets more information from DNA evidence. Prosecutors, defenders, investigators and scientists choose TrueAllele for accurate results on complex DNA data. Used around the globe, unbiased TrueAllele computing helps justice through better science.   

Cybergenetics Dr. Mark Perlin will be talking at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) meeting. This newsletter previews his three presentations.

Cybergenetics helps Allegheny County
Crime fighting technology makes Pittsburgh safer

On January 13, TechVibe Radio broadcast an interview with Dr. Mark Perlin and Dr. Ria David. The interview featured Cybergenetics history, plus high profile cases of serial rape, multiple homicide and innocence exoneration. Public policy concerns were also explored.

TechVibe Radio said Cybergenetics "awe-inspiring and amazing" forensic DNA technology was "making Pittsburgh proud."  Hear more. 

Cleveland goes live with TrueAllele
Congratulations to Cuyahoga County

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office is implementing TrueAllele Casework this month. The Ohio forensic scientists join crime laboratories in California, Louisiana, Maryland, South Carolina and Virginia as users of the proven TrueAllele technology. Following extensive TrueAllele validation on DNA mixtures containing up to ten contributors, the Cleveland crime lab will now be automatically resolving their complex DNA evidence.  

Forensic community supports TrueAllele
Scientists speak out in Seattle

In Washington v. Emanuel Fair, the defense challenged TrueAllele reliability and requested source code. The judge denied both motions. Based on empirical testing, TrueAllele has been admitted into evidence after all eleven opposition challenges in ten states. Courts deny source code discovery as neither material nor reasonable; reliability can be confirmed without it.
Forensic scientists from Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington wrote supporting declarations or gave testimony. They explained why source code is not used in scientific testing.  Read more.

Robert Xie convicted of quintuple homicide
TrueAllele interprets family DNA mixture in Australia  

On January 12, after four trials, Robert Xie was found guilty of murdering five members of his extended family. In 2009, the family members were found killed in their Sydney home. Key evidence was a brown stain on Mr. Xie's garage floor. TrueAllele statistically connected the biological stain with at least four of the victims.

The prosecutors chose Cybergenetics "because TrueAllele was the only technology that could reliably solve the problem of analysing a mixture containing up to five related family members." Dr. Mark Perlin testified about the match results, explaining the DNA evidence in an understandable way. Read more. 

Exoneration by computer interpretation
TrueAllele reanalysis helps achieve justice  
Dr. Perlin and colleagues will speak on "When DNA alone is not enough: exoneration by computer interpretation" at AAFS 2017.  Abstract.
Twenty five years ago, Darryl Pinkins was misidentified and wrongfully convicted of rape. New DNA evidence emerged fifteen years ago. But limited data interpretation was insufficient to gain his freedom. 

Sophisticated TrueAllele reanalysis of the same DNA data proved his innocence. The computer found DNA from all five perpetrators, none of whom were Mr. Pinkins. The wrong man had been convicted. Darryl Pinkins was exonerated by TrueAllele science, and released from prison.   Read more. 

On February 4 at 10 pm EST, CBS "48 Hours" news program is scheduled to present the case. 

Manipulating DNA evidence
Subjective data choices harm justice

Dr. Perlin and colleagues will speak on "On the threshold of injustice: manipulating DNA evidence" at AAFS 2017.  Abstract.

DNA can be presented to jurors as infallible evidence. But expertly manipulating the data can alter its interpretation, and give subjective or inaccurate results. Most statistical DNA software lets the user choose their data. A recent case highlights the danger of such practices.

Reliable scientific evidence requires empirical testing and error rate determination. Altering evidence undermines such testing and error rates. Analysts routinely apply thresholds that discard informative data. Human bias can harm criminal justice.  

False match probability
Determining error in DNA match

Dr. Perlin will speak on "Error in the likelihood ratio: false match probability" at AAFS 2017.  Abstract.

False match probability (FMP) puts an error rate to a DNA match statistic. The FMP value is customized to case evidence. While the likelihood ratio (LR) number summarizes the probative value of evidence, FMP gives the chance of being wrong. TrueAllele calculates FMP to determine error in DNA match.
A trier of fact does not want to wrongly convict an innocent person. Most jurors do not know about Bayes theorem, mathematical probability, likelihood or likelihood ratios. But they do understand the chance of error, and they want to avoid making a mistake. 

Becca Byers
Communication Specialist

Twitter: @cybgen
LinkedIn: Cybergenetics