As scientific evidence came to the forefront of Derrick Todd Lee’s death penalty trial in Baton Rouge, La., the forensic analyst who knelt over Charlotte Murray Pace’s body testified that she collected from the scene rare DNA found in one out of 3.6 quadrillion people, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Mike Mitchell, Lee’s defense attorney, protested that 3.6 quadrillion is “not a real number.” He said it’s a computer-generated statistic, which could be miscalculated by the computers themselves.
Prosecutors, whose case against Lee hinges on DNA evidence, reminded jurors that safeguards were taken when the analyst tested the sample, found on Pace’s left buttock as she lay dead on the floor of her Baton Rouge apartment in May 2002. Prosecutors have told the jury that they will rely on DNA evidence to link Lee to the Pace murder and the murders of four other women whose cases also will be discussed at the trial. Prosecutors intend to show that Lee, who has already been sentenced to life in prison for one murder, established a pattern, targeting, raping and killing these women in an 18-month spell that had Baton Rouge residents living in fear.