Home DNA Testing

Home DNA Testing

News and insights in the world of DNA and genetics for paternity, immigration and forensics

Archive for August, 2010 Monthly Archives

Michael Kevin Lallana, 31, of Fullerton, a field director for Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, was charged with two misdemeanor counts of releasing an offensive material in a public place and assault on two separate occasions.

Lallana who is a company executive was arrested Tuesday after DNA recovered from a female co-worker’s water bottle revealed he allegedly put semen into that bottle that she later drank from according to Orange County prosecutors.  Prosecutors claimed Lallana committed the crimes earlier this year for sexual gratification.

The first incident allegedly occurred Jan. 14. On that day, he left a semen-laced bottle of water on the victim’s desk, and when she returned later, she drank from it. She fell ill and threw the bottle away, prosecutors said.

Three months later, prosecutors claim, Lallana repeated the act after the pair had been transferred to a different office. The woman, whose identity was withheld by prosecutors, again felt ill. Suspicious of the water’s contents, she sent it to a lab for analysis. In June, the private lab warned the woman that the bottle contained semen. She reported the incidents to the Orange Police Department and investigators later obtained Lallana’s DNA, which matched that found in the water bottle.

He is scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 14 2010.  If convicted, he faces up to three years in prison with mandatory sex-offender registration.

Orange County Deputy Dist. Atty. Bobby Taghavi said investigators were able to key in on Lallana because he worked at both locations where the incidents occurred. During the investigation Lallana eventually volunteered to provide a sample of his DNA for testing, Taghavi said.

“These are not charges you see every day,” Taghavi said.

DNA paternity testing shows that Bobby Fischer is not the father of Jinky Young, a 9 year old Fllipino girl.  Chess ledgend Bobby Fischer died in Januray of 2008 at the age of 64 in Iceland.  In June of 2010, Icland’s supreme court ruled in favor of a request to exhume Fischer’s remains in order to preform DNA testing.  Test results were released and the paternity case is being closed.

Obesity has become such a large problem world wide that in Britain there are children listed on the British social services ”at risk” register because it was assumed their parents were abusing them with deliberate overfeeding.  ”In one case, one of the children had been taken into care,” said Stephen O’Rahilly, a world expert on the genetics of obesity at the University of Cambridge.

But then his research team discovered the problem. The obese children had a section of DNA missing in their genetic code – a fault that produced a very strong drive to eat. ”They are very hungry children and very hard to keep healthy,” said Professor O’Rahilly.

The research, published in December, is the latest discovery in understanding better why some people are more likely than others to become overweight and obese.  A food-on-tap environment had contributed to the obesity epidemic but telling people to eat less and exercise more would not solve it, Professor O’Rahilly said, when about 70 per cent of body size and shape was determined by genetic inheritance.

Professor O’Rahilly’s team found the first genetic fault linked to childhood obesity more than a decade ago and showed that giving children the protein they lacked, leptin, led to weight loss.  While big genetic mistakes such as this were responsible for a small number of cases, for most overweight and obese people it was the result of a combination of many genetic variations with small effects, he said.

More than 60 of these variations have been identified and most appear to be active in the brain and to influence hunger, appetite and and satiety.  ”Some of these genes will be affecting your weight by only a pound,” Professor O’Rahilly said.

Professor O’Rahilly said obesity should be regarded as a ”heritable neuro-behavioural disorder” and he hoped genetic research would lead to new treatments which, with societal and lifestyle changes, would make it as manageable as blood pressure.

Michael Anthony Green, 45, from Houston, TX is expected to be freed this week after serving more than 27 years in prison.  Becoming the longest time behind bars of any Texan who has gone on to be exonerated for a rape prosecutors now say he did not commit.

If freed, Green would be the eighth local man let out of prison in recent years, and the second in a week, after serving time for a crime he did not commit.  Wicoff credited attorneys and investigators in the Post Conviction Review Section of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office with finding a pair of jeans stored in a warehouse that had been worn by the victim during the crime, then testing it for DNA evidence. The results excluded Green.

“He is innocent,” His attorney said. “We’ve got the bad guys, too. We’ve pegged the bad guys.”  Green was sentenced to 75 years in prison for the 1983 rape of a Houston woman based on faulty eyewitness identification, Wicoff said.

According to court records, a woman talking on a pay phone with her husband was abducted at gunpoint by two men at a Greenspoint-area gas station after midnight on April 18, 1983. They forced her into a car with two other men. Her kidnapers drove the victim to a secluded area, where three of them sexually assaulted her. The fourth man did not participate.

District Attorney Pat Lykos said that the DA’s office has identified all four men suspected in the crime, including the three believed to have sexually assaulted the victim.  Three of the men have been convicted of other crimes and spent time in prison. Two are still behind bars, according to prosecutors. But, because the statute of limitations elapsed on the 1983 rape case, none of the men can be prosecuted for the crime, according to Lykos.

Records show Green appealed his case several times since 1983, to no avail. DNA testing still was years away from common use in 1983, but Green filed a motion for post-conviction DNA testing in 2005. Prosecutors took a swab of his DNA in February 2009. Last month, O’Neal learned Green had been excluded from the DNA profiles found on the victim’s jeans.

Two other men matched DNA that had been recorded in the national DNA CODIS database. A third man’s DNA also was found but was not identified.  Through interviews with the two suspects, investigators were led to two more men. Test results returned this week showed that one of those two, was the third man involved in the sexual assault. None of the four men were Green.

The night of the assault officers were looking for a stolen black car in the area where the woman was raped. According to court records, police spotted the car and pulled it over, the four black men inside fled. Police then began stopping all black men walking in the area and eventually detained Green, who is black and a second man.

Green and the other man were left in a police car that night, illuminated by headlights, while the victim was brought to the scene. Court records say the woman saw both men but said neither was among those who had assaulted her.  Eight days later, police showed the victim a photo array that included Green, and she picked him out. Later that day, she picked him out of a live lineup.

Wicoff blamed police for the false eyewitness identification.  “DNA freed this guy. Bad police work put him away,” Wicoff said. “This was HPD’s fault.”

Houston Police Department spokesman Victor Senties said police officials wanted to wait for the court’s ruling and see documentation about the case before responding to any allegations.  In a news release, Lykos’ first assistant, Jim Leitner, appeared to slam prior district attorney administrations for the length of time the case stalled.

“The evidence in this case had been sitting in the District Clerk’s Office for 27 years, and no one had taken the initiative to do anything with it in the past,” Leitner said. “The difference now is that you’ve got the Post Conviction Review Section looking into it – and that made all the difference in the case of Mr. Green.”

Lykos declined to comment on Leitner’s remarks.

Wicoff said certain court procedures need to be followed to have Green’s actual innocence declared.  If Green is released, he said, that paperwork can be completed without the sense of urgency that has marked the last week.

“We can start sleeping at night,” Wicoff said.

Wicoff said Green has served the longest prison sentence of an exonerated man in Texas.  If he is ruled innocent, he could be eligible for a one-time payment from the state of more than $2 million, $80,000 for every year he was wrongfully confined.

The final ruling on Green’s innocence will be made by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

Lykos said the case was a clarion call for a regional crime lab, a project she campaigned on, noting a backlog of rape kits continues to grow at the HPD crime lab. She has argued for more resources to be used for DNA testing in current and past cases.

“If this case isn’t the poster case for the regional crime lab, I don’t know what is,” the district attorney said.

Based on the Article from: Chron – Houston & Texas News