By: Tanner Holte
Tanner's Bread Crumb Trail
Looking at the topics and thinking about what I wanted to do my topic on, I thought about some TV shows that involves crimes like CSI Miami and because I figured there would be a lot of information on solving crimes. I decided to do my topic on solving crimes.
1. I found a link that had a heading called "Using DNA to Solve Crime," and it talked about how through the past decade, DNA has made solving crimes incredibly accurate.
2. I found another link that talks about the different types of evidence that the detectives look for like skin, hair, blood, and other bodily fluids. They have been the most reliable resources for crime scenes.
3. I decided to aim towards the direction of DNA Technology + Procedures + Evidence
I decided to my research on the exoneration of Benny Starks of Illinois.
Bennie was convicted of aggravated criminal sexual assault, attempted aggravated comical assault, aggravated battery, unlawful restraints. He was convicted in 1986 and was sentenced to 60 years in prison. Benny was exonerated January 7, 2013. He served 20 years in prison because of eye witness misidentification and improper forensic science.
There were many different ways that the police were trying to show that Benny was guilty. They found semen on the victims underwear but could not trace it back to Benny but couldn't because 14% of the population has the same blood type as Benny. Then the victims also had bite marks on her shoulder and they tried to trace that back to Benny but they couldn't because his teeth were different than what she had on her shoulder. Both of those things that they tried tracing back to Benny were false. Then the victim identified Benny as the attacker.
Benny was charged with two counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault. Benny contacted the Innocence Project, and they requested a DNA test. The tests that they did showed that Benny was excluded from the DNA that was on the victims underwear. There was also a discovery that the serologists testimony at the trial was false, so Benny tried for a new trial but was denied. Then in 2004, there was a vaginal swab from the rape kit of the victim and tested Benny again and was excluded from the DNA that was found. The prosecutors refused to drop Benny's charges.
In May 2012, Benny's rape charges were but they kept the battery charges saying that Benny beat her. then on January of 2013, the battery charges were dropped and Benny was exonerated at the age of 53.