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Sunday, February 11, 2007

CrimProf Susan W. McGraugh Recetly Discussed Whether DNA Evidence Could Help Convict a Man Suspected of Many St. Louis Murders

Mcgraugh From stltoday.com: St. Louis University School of Law CrimProf Susan W. McGraugh recently discuessed the likelihood of the DNA match linking Gregory Bowman to the murder in 1977 of Velda Joy Rumfelt, 16, a girl from St. Louis who was found raped and strangled in a remote area of southwestern St. Louis County leadingto a conviction.

In July 1978, Bowman was arrested for abducting a woman from Belleville at knifepoint from a laundromat. She fought him off and escaped. Bowman was later convicted in that case.

In 1979, Bowman was convicted of murdering Elizabeth West, 14, and Ruth Ann Jany, 21, in the summer of 1978. West, a high school student, and Jany, a nurse, were found dumped in rural areas of St. Clair County.  This conviction was largely based on a confession and for a short period of time he was released on bond.

The conviction, however, was thrown out in 2001, two years after reports in the Post-Dispatch raised questions about the way the confession had been obtained. Judge Richard A. Aguirre ordered a new trial, expected sometime this year. Aguirre ruled in 2005 that prosecutors would still be able to use Bowman's confession.  He is currently awaiting his retrial.

CrimProf McGraugh said a DNA match alone would not secure a conviction. "A DNA match is not a fingerprint," McGraugh said. "But it does strengthen a case." McGraugh said Bowman's attorneys could question the DNA testing process. "It's my understanding that the same lab had both (DNA) samples at once," McGraugh said. "That introduces the risk of cross-contamination."

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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