Humanoids are stupid. Laugh at them.

Monday, March 3, 2008

.:Watching the Detectives:.

DNA science helps give cops the skinny on shooting suspect
If 22-year-old alleged shooter James Ellerbee reaches age 70 he, like all humans, will have shed 100 pounds of skin, but it was a mere spec left on his jacket last fall that prosecutors hope will put him away for many years to come.

After the call for shots fired at 8:30 a.m. Nov. 29, cops found two men laid out on Cameron Street bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds to the arms and legs. Cops followed the fleeing shooter’s path and found his jacket draped over a fence on Hendry Street. In one pocket was a mask and a Ruger P89, a cheap but sturdy 9mm that had allegedly just sent two men to Boston Medical Center.

Ellerbee was later stopped by a Boston police officer working a detail. After an interview with Dorchester detectives, he was released, but not before they asked him to submit to an oral swab DNA test, police said.

Ballistics matched the gun to the crime, Gaughan said, but what detectives needed was to match the jacket holding the gun to a triggerman. That’s where Hayes and his team of criminalists come in. Their lab is not stainless and sleek, dimly lit, or infused with techno music.

It is functional. Sturdy wooden benches with polished stone tops stand back to back under bright fluorescent lights and, unlike its television counterpart, it has put hundreds of real criminals away.

It was into this lab that Hayes’ criminalists brought the shooter’s jacket recovered on Hendry Street. Their task was to put a man inside that coat.

“We look to take cuttings from areas that may be frictional, the collar and cuffs,” Hayes said. “Areas that might rub against the skin.”
Skin, Hayes said, is a good source of DNA for crime fighters, and scientists gather as many of those cells as possible.

“We’re not just looking for a single cell,” he said. “We’re looking for a substantial amount related to someone having worn the garment itself.”

In Ellerbee’s case the crime lab found all it needed, and thanks to the work of district detectives who gathered the earlier DNA swab at the station, authorities had enough evidence to get a warrant charging Ellerbee with the double shooting.

Ellerbee was charged with two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and three counts of assault at his Friday arraignment. He pleaded not guilty and was held on $30,000 bail.


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