Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Morris rape case: 1 in 320 quadrillion chance it's someone else's DNA, too, expert says

TAMPA — A state expert laid out the odds Wednesday that someone other than teenager Kendrick Morris could have left behind DNA during the rape of a 62-year-old Clair-Mel woman.

The odds: 1 in 320 quadrillion.

Erika Smith, who tested the DNA for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, said that's the probability another African-American has the same DNA profile as Morris. There is even less of a chance of finding an exact match in Caucasian and Hispanic populations.

How many zeros are in a quadrillion, prosecutor Michael Sinacore asked her.

Fifteen, she said.

How many people live on planet Earth, he asked?

About 6.5 billion, she ventured.

"That DNA," fellow prosecutor Rita Peters told jurors earlier in the week, "was all that it took to link that boy, that man to the attack."

Prosecutors say Morris' DNA also links him to the 2008 brutal rape of a teenage girl at the Bloomingdale Regional Public Library.

Morris, now 19, is on trial this week over a rape that occurred at a day care center 10 months earlier, in the summer of 2007.

In opening statements Tuesday, the defense suggested that the DNA was contaminated.

On Wednesday, defense attorneys questioned state witnesses about sperm found in an oral swab. The victim reported no oral assault. The key DNA evidence came from swabs of other areas, the FDLE expert testified.

But the victim did say the suspect covered her mouth with a glove after he had raped her.

Smith said the DNA could have been transferred to the swab that way. When asked by a defense attorney whether it could also have been put there by contamination, Smith said that it was a possibility.

The defense cross-examined the analyst for an hour and a half about the possibility of human error and the idea that analysis requires interpretation. Assistant public defender Maria Pavlidis asked multiple questions about the integrity of the DNA samples.

But Smith maintained that Morris was a match.

Morris decided Wednesday not to testify in his defense.

Attorneys are expected to deliver closing statements Thursday. Then, the jury will begin to deliberate.

Alexandra Zayas can be reached at azayas@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3354.

Morris rape case: 1 in 320 quadrillion chance it's someone else's DNA, too, expert says 09/01/10 [Last modified: Thursday, September 2, 2010 12:06am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Florida education news: Creaky air conditioning, hate speech, home visits and more

    Blogs

    OVERHEATED: Several Hillsborough County schools suffer air conditioning breakdowns during the first days of classes, and maintenance workers are striving to …

    Aging air conditioning is faltering at some Hillsborough County schools.
  2. Students, staff, parents celebrate opening of two new schools in Pasco

    K12

    After months of anticipation, Pasco County's two newest schools made their debuts Monday to largely rave reviews.

    Bryce Navarro, left, a junior at Cypress Creek High School, helps fellow student Michae’la Davis and her mother, Valarie White, with the registration process Monday, the first day of classes.
  3. Residents warned after gator kills dog at Joe's Creek in St. Petersburg

    Public Safety

    The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office is issuing a warning to pet owners after a woman's dog was killed by a 9-foot alligator at Joe's Creek in St. Petersburg on Wednesday.

    The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office issued a warning on its Facebook page after a 9-foot gator killed a 75-pound dog at Joe's Creek in St. Petersburg on Aug. 16, 2017. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Wrestling to return to old Tampa armory — but just for one night

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — For the first time in decades, wrestling will return to the old Ft. Homer W. Hesterly Armory with a reunion show scheduled for late September.

    For the first time in decades, wrestling will return to the old Ft. Homer W. Hesterly Armory with a reunion show scheduled for late September.
Now named the Bryan Glazer Family JCC, the armory regularly featured stars such as Dusty Rhodes and Jack Brisco. On September 26, it will host a one-time only reunion night. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times file photo (2016)]
  5. Wanted: New businesses on Safety Harbor's Main Street

    Local Government

    SAFETY HARBOR — A green grocery store, a hardware store, restaurants, boutiques and multi-use buildings are all wanted downtown, according to discussion at a community redevelopment workshop held last week. And to bring them to the Main Street district, city commissioners, led by Mayor Joe Ayoub, gave City Manager …

    Whistle Stop Bar & Grill is one of the main stops on Main Street in Safety Harbor. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]