According to Hillsborough County Circuit Court, Case #02-CF-15542, and Florida Dept of Law Enforcement, Case # 20030300771, on Wednesday, November 20, 2013, the Florida State Attorney’s Office for the 13th Judicial Circuit dropped all charges against Cheydrick Britt related to a 2002 sexual battery charge based on new DNA test results conducted by the Forensics team at DNA Diagnostics Center (DDC) in Fairfield, Ohio, led by Dr. Julie Heinig, the Forensic Director and DNA Technical Leader. DDC is the world’s largest provider of private DNA tests in the country, and Mr. Britt—who spent over 9 years wrongfully convicted and incarcerated—is the 7th such case that DDC has proved an inmate’s innocence.
Dr. Heinig and Mr. Britt’s legal team, lead by Charles A. Murray, lead counsel from Charles A. Murray P.A., Melissa Montle and Seth Miller, attorneys with the Innocence Project of Florida (“IPF”) meticulously worked through the original testing files. DNA tests conducted by Dr. Heinig and her team at DDC identified a DNA profile from the victim’s underwear that excluded Mr. Britt. Those findings resulted in his release from prison on September 24, 2013; however, it was not until November 20, 2013 that 13th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Chet Tharpe signed an order vacating the conviction.
Says Dr. Heinig, “DNA testing is a powerful tool to help uncover the truth, and its value is especially evident in cases like this where it helps a wrongfully convicted man be set free.” Charles Murray, Esq. reiterates, “Clearly the DNA testing results carried the day. Without DDC’s efforts, Mr. Britt would still be wrongfully imprisoned. I was extremely pleased with the professionalism of Dr. Heinig and her staff. They were terrific—professional and timely throughout this case. I recommend DDC unequivocally.” Melissa Montel echoed the excitement of Mr. Britt’s full exoneration, saying, “I am thrilled to reunite Cheydrick with his family before the holidays. This day simply would not have come without DDC’s efforts. It was, and always is, a pleasure to work with Dr. Heinig and her dedicated staff, and local counsel, Charles Murray.” Mr. Britt further rejoices, “I would like to thank Dr. Heinig and her entire staff for the tireless efforts in pursuing justice. My family and I greatly appreciate their services and patience that they have showed in this case, and I am very proud of their work in my case.” On the subject of his exoneration, Mr. Britt further acknowledges, “I have been waiting for this moment for almost a decade. I always maintained my innocence and now DNA testing has proven what I always knew to be true. Thank God for DNA.”
Peter Vitulli, President and CEO of DDC said, “I am proud of Dr. Heinig and her forensics team, further proving the power of DNA testing. DDC has successfully assisted with seven exonerations since 2008 and provides DNA expertise to Innocence Projects across the country. The science speaks for itself; however, our world-class facility and testing methods allow the science to provide the impetus for freeing innocent people like Mr. Britt. We appreciate Mr. Britt and his family for instilling their trust in us.”
About DDC Forensics, A Division of DNA Diagnostics Center (DDC): DDC Forensics is a fully accredited forensic laboratory providing unbiased, independent forensic DNA testing and consultation services to legal and law enforcement professionals. It utilizes leading-edge technology systems (Identifiler™, GlobalFiler™, Yfiler ™ and MiniFiler™) and offers full expert consultation services, including case review of other laboratory’s findings, expert testimony at trial, and observation at other laboratory facilities. It is a division of DNA Diagnostics Center (DDC) (www.dnacenter.com) of Fairfield OH, which is the largest provider of private DNA paternity and other DNA tests in the U.S. and worldwide for more than 18 years. DDC offers comprehensive DNA testing services for paternity and other biological relationships, forensics, ancestry and veterinary animal DNA testing. DDC receives more than 800,000 consumer calls each year, and has performed over 2 million DNA tests since its inception. DDC is recognized through a number of accreditations nationally and internationally, including by the AABB (formerly known as the American Association of Blood Banks) and the College of American Pathologists (CAP). DDC is also accredited by ACLASS to meet the standards of ISO 17025:2005 and the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors Laboratory Accreditation Board International and follows the DNA Advisory Board (DAB) guidelines, which attests to DDC’s superior forensic testing service. For more information, visit www.forensicdnacenter.com or call 1-800-406-1940.