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People v. Wesley

Court of Appeals of New York

January 12, 1994, Argued ; March 29, 1994, Decided

No. 18

Opinion

 [*420]  [**452]  [***98]    Smith, J.

The primary issues on this appeal are whether DNA profiling evidence is admissible in this State and, if so, whether it should have been admitted against defendant in this case. Because such evidence has been accepted and found reliable by the relevant  [**453]   [***99]  scientific community and because no error was committed in the circumstances of this case, we affirm.

Facts

Defendant appeals, by permission of a Judge of this Court, from an order affirming his conviction for murder in the second degree, rape in the first degree, attempted sodomy in the first degree and burglary in the second degree. On September 15, 1987, 79-year-old Helen Kendrick was found dead in her apartment in the City of Albany. The investigation of her death focused on defendant when caseworkers from the Albany City Hostel, an organization which served developmentally disabled persons, during a routine check of defendant's [****8]  apartment, found a bloodstained T-shirt with gray and white hairs on it, bloodstained underwear and bloodstained sweatpants. Both defendant and the deceased were clients of the organization.

Even without the DNA profiling evidence, proof of defendant's  [*421]  guilt is compelling. The day after the victim's body was found, defendant told a social worker that he did not know the decedent, even though he had visited her in her apartment only three days before. During questioning by one of the detectives, defendant gave at least three conflicting accounts of how his shirt became bloodied. Defendant also gave an implausible account of how the decedent sustained her injuries. According to a detective, defendant stated that he "tripped" the decedent and she fell to the floor. Defendant noticed blood on the floor so he attempted to check her pulse by feeling in her vaginal area. Because he could not detect a pulse in the victim, he moved toward her chest area and attempted CPR. Unsuccessful in that attempt, he picked her up, thereby staining his clothes with her blood, dropped her to the floor, placed her face down and left the apartment. Defendant volunteered that he "didn't [****9]  choke her" although the detective never mentioned that she was choked. Defendant also offered that he did not have sexual intercourse with the victim although the detective made no mention of a sexual crime. Defendant told the detective, "I didn't do it. I turned my head when somebody else did it."

In addition, a microscopist testified that nylon from the carpet in the decedent's apartment was on the decedent's dress and on defendant's T-shirt, underpants and sweatpants. She testified that fibers from a blanket in defendant's bedroom were located on the decedent's dress and underpants and on defendant's T-shirt and underpants as well.

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83 N.Y.2d 417 *; 633 N.E.2d 451 **; 611 N.Y.S.2d 97 ***; 1994 N.Y. LEXIS 319 ****

The People of the State of New York, Respondent, v. George Wesley, Appellant.

Prior History:  [****1]   Appeal, by permission of an Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals, from an order of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in the Third Judicial Department, entered October 22, 1992, which affirmed (1) a judgment of the Albany County Court (Joseph Harris, J.; see, 140 Misc 2d 306), rendered upon a verdict convicting defendant of murder in the second degree, rape in the first degree, attempted sodomy in the first degree and burglary in the second degree, and (2) an order of that court (Joseph Harris, J.), denying a motion by defendant pursuant to CPL 440.10 to vacate the judgment of conviction.

 People v Wesley, 183 AD2d 75, affirmed.

Disposition: Order affirmed.

CORE TERMS

reliability, match, forensic, genetic, testing, laboratory, scientific community, studies, probe, prints, scientific, alleles, scientific evidence, blood, profiling, novel, identification, samples, cell, polymorphic, fragments, segments, locus, autorads, pairs, chromosome, sequence, strand, bands, forensic analysis

Evidence, Scientific Evidence, Bodily Evidence, DNA, Admissibility, Standards for Admissibility, Testimony, Expert Witnesses, General Overview, Expert Witnesses, Kelly Frye Standard, Civil Procedure, Discovery & Disclosure, Relevance, Preservation of Relevant Evidence, Exclusion & Preservation by Prosecutors, Daubert Standard, Criminal Law & Procedure, Juries & Jurors, Province of Court & Jury