A Baltimore crime lab employee left his own DNA on a pistol police say was used to kill an off-duty detective, indicating that a recently discovered problem with contamination at the lab may be more widespread than officials originally believed, reports the Baltimore Sun. Evidence from the murder trial of Brandon Grimes was not among the 12 instances city officials identified last week in which lab employees introduced their own DNA into crime evidence. Lab officials testified yesterday that there are thousands of partial strands of unknown DNA in evidence samples that must be checked by hand.
The Grimes case is the first in what city defense attorneys expect will be widespread challenges to DNA evidence processed in the Baltimore lab, whose director was fired last week amid concerns about contamination. In a scene that could play out in other trials, Grimes’ attorney attempted to use the problems at the lab to broadly impeach physical evidence usually thought to be unassailable. Defense attorney Roland Wlker criticized the state for not checking evidence in Grimes’ case as soon as news of the contamination broke, which coincided with the trial’s start. “The only way I ever learned about this was from reading it in the newspaper,” he said.