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Colorado cold cases revived after man's arrest and DNA test

The genetic codes in DNA make individuals unique. DNA becomes a detectable mark when we touch things or people. Colorado police investigators gather DNA evidence to strengthen links between defendants and crimes or, in some cases, to exclude someone from a crime scene.

Katie's Law is a Colorado statute that requires police to take DNA samples from adults booked on felony charges. Lab test results are compared to DNA profiles stored in databases, like the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Combined DNA Index System, known as CODIS. A match in the system alerts authorities.

A Colorado man, charged with aggravated assault in 2012, was given a DNA test at the time of his arrest. The defendant is facing three trials, the first stemming from charges filed after the man's DNA matched evidence in three unsolved sexual assault cases. The 49-year-old accused man is being tried on 18 counts of kidnapping and sexual offenses, including child sexual abuse.

Prosecutors said the man is guilty of sex crimes dating back to 2008, when the defendant reportedly assaulted a 13-year-old girl. The alleged victim, now an adult, claimed she was raped twice after accepting a car ride from the defendant. DNA evidence was collected, after the teen reported the assault to police.

Two other alleged victims are also set to testify. The defendant is scheduled to stand trial on a separate sexual assault charge this month. The second trial will be followed by a third for the original aggravated assault charge.

DNA can identify where we've been, but the mark is fragile. Mistakes easily can be made by anyone involved in the collection, packaging, testing or storing of DNA. Faulty evidence can lead to false accusations and wrongful convictions.

Sex crime allegations must be treated very seriously. If there is any opportunity to show DNA evidence was flawed, a criminal defense attorney will pursue it until charges are reduced or dropped.

Source: KUSA, "DNA evidence links man to unsolved assaults" Anastasiya Bolton, Mar. 06, 2014

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