POSTED: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 4:50pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, July 26, 2011 - 7:39am
EL PASO- A local man is charged with a terrible crime, raping his 15-year old stepdaughter. But new evidence suggests Andrew Martin may be innocent.
Original DNA evidence taken from the victim incriminated Martin. But that same DNA tested again, gives a whole different conclusion.
"He's told me he's innocent of this, from day one he's maintained his innocence, always has," said Martin's lawyer Stuart Leeds.
In the indictment, Martin is charged with raping with his 15 year-old stepdaughter. The convincing evidence was a Texas Department of Public Safety test, that collected semen from the victim, and compared it to Martin's DNA.
"He cannot be excluded as the contributor of that sperm sample. In other words, saying, yeah, it's his sperm," Leeds said.
At that point, it looked like case closed. But Leeds wasn't convinced and consulted an expert for help. Dr. Paul Goldstein, a UTEP professor, said the test had flaws.
"He said, well, you know I don't know, they really jumped the gun by saying what they did," Leeds said.
So the semen sample was tested a second time by Orchid Cellmark, an independent lab outside of Dallas.
This test only considers male DNA in the sample. Orchid Cellmark says removing the girl's DNA makes the result more specific and accurate.
The new results do not match the male DNA to Andrew Martin.
Martin's guilt or innocence is up to a jury. They'll begin hearing the case next week.
But the case brings up a major issue. How many people have been jailed on the result of one DNA test, when further tests might have proven their innocence?
"If there's a more refined test out which might change the result, why don't you do that in all cases?" Leeds said.
We want to ask the Department of Public Safety about their testing techniques, and if they feel the most accurate tests are used in each case.
They told us that because this case is pending, they're not able to comment on the situation until after the trial is over.