Defense’s DNA expert says Kareem Lane’s DNA may not be on knife

By Sara Belsole

COLUMBUS, GA – Day six in the trial for the man accused of stabbing Jim Burns to death in 1992.

Even though the prosecution has not rested yet, the defense calls one of it's witnesses out of order due to scheduling conflicts.

The defense's forensic scientist coming from California Tuesday to take the stand and testify about his interpretation of the DNA in the case. His testimony was similar to the State's DNA expert who took the stand Friday, saying the DNA is so inconclusive he can't even say for sure if Burns' DNA was on the knife handle.

Thomas Fedor of the Serological Research Institute in Richmond, California says he is only sure of two things. First, not enough DNA was recovered from the handle of the knife that killed Jim Burns in 1992.

And second, there is “no doubt” a third unknown person left DNA on the knife.

Fedor says beyond that unknown person, there isn't conclusive evidence in respect to anybody's presence on the knife, including Burns and Kareem Lane, who is on trial for the murder.

Fedor goes on to testify that if two alleles found in the DNA mixture on the knife handle, which he calls number seven and nine, belong to Jim Burns, then the DNA can't belong to Lane.

“Then Mr. Lane contributed nothing, under the assumption that all of the 7 and all of the 9 belong to Mr. Burns,” Fedor says.

Defense attorney Stacey Jackson suggests the police officer who read the DNA report that linked Lane to the knife in 2010 exaggerated the results.

He also points out the state only tested the knife handle, not the blade, and failed to test hairs found in the home for DNA, which Fedor says would be possible without the hair's root.

On cross examination, District Attorney Julia Slater highlights the defense didn't order testing on the knife blade or the hair either, and that it is still possible Lane's DNA is on the knife.

Testimony continues in the case Wednesday, but then takes a break on Thursday. The trial will then resume on Friday. 

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