DNA Helps Retrial Of NYC Rape Suspect 31 Years Later


DNA can relieve rape victims of identifying a predator who attacked from behind or in darkness, whose face they never saw, and it can bring a resolution to victims who gave up on justice years ago and learned to live with the injury, says the New York Times. DNA cannot do: replace the testimony of victims. The Times tells the story of Kathleen Ham, who was raped in New York City 32 years ago. She wants her name to be public along with her account of the crime to show that she is not ashamed. She is scheduled to testify today in court, confronting for a second time the man accused of attacking her in 1973. A 1974 trial ended with a hung jury. Ham, 58, learned in April that the defendant, Fletcher Anderson Worrell, had been conclusively matched to the assault by DNA.

Since then, she has been forced to revisit the attack. “He’s been out there for 32 years,” said Ham, a California lawyer. “And I’ve been in my own private jail.” DNA helped to track Worrell, 59, tying him as a suspect to at least 24 other rapes in New Jersey and Maryland. The FBI, which maintains the national databank of DNA criminal case profiles, says DNA has helped in the prosecution of 27,806 cases nationwide.

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/03/nyregion/03rape.html?hp&ex=1131080400&amp

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