|Fairfield, Ohio, August 12, 2008—DNA Diagnostics Center’s Forensics Division provided the DNA testing requested by the Ohio Innocence Project and the Franklin County prosecutor’s office, which eventually resulted in the release of inmate Robert McClendon. McClendon had spent 18 years in prison, convicted of a child rape that he has always maintained he did not commit.
McClendon’s is 1 of 30 cases in Ohio that were identified to have “legitimate claims of innocence” in an investigation conducted by the Columbus Dispatch together with the Ohio Innocence Project. Of these, 14 have been approved for DNA testing by the respective presiding judges and county prosecutor’s offices.
In McClendon’s case, DDC’s forensic laboratory tested evidence submitted by the prosecutor. After traces of semen were found, a Y-STR DNA test was performed, which generates a DNA profile from the Y chromosome (found only in males). A comparison to the Y-STR profile from McClendon revealed that he could not have been the source of the DNA from the semen stain. After a judge ordered his release on August 11, McClendon walked out of the Franklin County Courthouse a free man.
DNA Diagnostics Center has offered to test the DNA evidence in the Ohio Innocence Project’s post-conviction cases free of charge. DDC Forensics spokesperson Kathy Gantzer stated, “We are proud to be trusted to provide this important service to the State of Ohio and the Ohio Innocence Project.”
Dr. Richard Lee, founder of DDC, added, “Our mission is to advance DNA technology to benefit mankind. We’re just starting to see a fraction of what DNA testing will eventually be able to do for society.”
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