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January 31, 2005

DNA Test Links Killer, then Four Years Old, to 1969 Murder

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]

January 31, 2005 in News | Permalink


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» Troubling genes from kemplog
Jack Chin, over at the Criminal Professor covered a story out of Michigan Friday that is going to need some explaining. DNA analysis on specimens from a 1969 murder resulted in the conclusion that a 39 year old man was... [Read More]

Tracked on January 23, 2005 10:51 AM


This case is fascinating. I live in this area, and clerk for the Detroit prosecutor's office.

Posted by: tom | January 21, 2005 12:10 AM

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