Lynette White was murdered in 1988. When the three men first imprisoned for her murder were found to have been wrongfully convicted, it seemed that her killer would go unpunished. However, new technology invented in 2002 was used to analyze DNA found at the scene of the murder. The only match was to a boy too young to have committed the murder, but DNA samples were taken from his family. The youth’s uncle confessed, and was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2003.
In criminal investigation, DNA evidence can be a game-changer. But DNA is just one piece of the puzzle, rarely giving a clear “he did it” answer. According to a consortium of forensic experts who released a report earlier this year, there are limits to what DNA can tell us about a crime. And what it can and can’t reliably prove in court needs to be much clearer.
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