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DNA Expert: No Semen Links To Defendants

July 14, 1990 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) _ The case against three teen-agers charged with raping a jogger in Central Park has been greatly weakened by the government’s failure to link the suspects through DNA samples, a defense lawyer said.

An FBI expert testified Friday that semen samples taken from the body and clothes of the victim, an investment banker, did not match up in DNA testing with samples provided by the three defendants.

The only sample that was linked to any of 15 people who submitted to the DNA testing came from the jogger’s shorts and belonged to her boyfriend, said Special Agent Dwight Adams of the FBI’s DNA Analysis Unit in Dallas.

The 15 who submitted sambles included the defendants, the boyfriend and potential witnesses at the trial in criminal court.

Semen samples taken from the jogger’s cervix and her sock matched each other, but did not match the samples of the defendants, Adams testified. Other samples found at the scene were too small to match, he said.

″It weakens the prosecution’s case tremendously. It permits us to argue our clients had nothing to do with the rape of the Central Park jogger,″ said Peter Rivera, attorney for defendant Raymond Santana.

Prosecutors have said that to get a rape conviction, they don’t have to prove the defendants had sex with the jogger, only that they helped other defendants rape her.

DNA testing, done through bodily fluids, illuminates a genetic fingerprint unique to each person.

When the DNA tests in this case were first made public during pretrial hearings, defense lawyers for the three teen-agers said the results indicated an unidentified person had had sex with the jogger.

Prosecutors say the woman was gang-raped and beaten almost to death, then left in a ravine near a popular park jogging route.

Santana, 16, Antron McCray, 15, and Yusef Salaam, 16, are on trial for attempted murder, rape, sexual abuse, assault, robbery and riot in the attack on the woman and two male joggers.

The woman, now 30, survived and returned to work, but suffered brain damage and has no memory of the attack.

McCray, Santana and Salaam are on trial in an adult court, but if convicted they will be sentenced as juvenile offenders, to up to 10 years in prison.

Three other youths are to stand trial on the same charges later this year.