Saturday, March 12, 2005
The 1969 murder of University of Michigan Law student Jane Mixer led to an arrest in November, 2004 based on a DNA match. Mixer had been shot and strangled with silk stockings, but had not been sexually assaulted. Further DNA testing gave rise to startling results. According to the Detroit Free Press: "A 35-year-old murder mystery deepened Friday as a State Police scientist testified that DNA from two people was found on the body of a slain University of Michigan law student. One DNA sample was traced to the man charged with killing Jane Mixer in 1969 and the other to someone who was 4 years old at the time and who grew up to brutally murder his own mother." Story here. Follow up here. Perhaps the 4 year old was indeed at the crime scene somehow. Or, perhaps the profile identification is a false hit. In the former case, it is spooky and tragic; in the latter, it is, perhaps a crack in the idea that DNA (done right) is infallible. UPDATE: Curiouser and curiouser. The Detroit Free Press reports the defendant, Gary Leiterman, was bound over for trial. It also says that Leiterman's DNA found on Jane Mixer's pantyhose was from neither blood nor semen, and that she had not been sexualy assaulted before she was shot. It is hard to explain semen from a rape or blood from a fight, but if this DNA is saliva or nasal discharge from a cough, sneeze or spit, or skin cells, then the probabtive value is much diminished. [Jack Chin] SECOND UPDATE: There's now a book on the victim, Jane: A Murder, written by Jane Mixer's niece. Also, the trial of Gary Leiterman, scheduled for July, has been assigned to county judge Donald Shelton, who attended the University of Michigan Law School with the victim, but stated that he did not remember her.