When the dust settles on the Lundy case it has a extraordinary look. 17 years in the making and still unclear. There is 1 particular reason for this, the material found on Mark Lundy's shirt of origin that continues to be debated, and where really the case looks to have gone off the rails.
I'm interested in the DNA found under Christine and Amber's nails reported as coming from 2 unidentified males. I understand that. 2 men in the house maybe that killed the mother and daughter.
So how does DNA get under fingernails, what is known about that. A lot actually. DNA under the nails begins to disappear as the hands are used, washed, picking up a cup, working with the hands. It takes around 6 hours for that to happen for those doing day to day things, eating, sleeping, washing. Most DNA found under nails comes from the person's spouse, partner, near relative, someone they live or work with. The Crown say that Mark Lundy killed his wife and daughter after 3 am in the morning. That puts Christine and Amber having come into contact with 2 unknown males whose DNA lodged under their fingernails who are of no interest to the Crown.
When I started this blog I knew about DNA of relatives arriving under the nails of those they were in contact or lived with, I knew that DNA generally disappeared within 6 hours as the result of daily routines. More recently I had learnt that foreign DNA was far rarer to be found that came from strangers. I began to think that it's probable arrival was the result, particular in a murder case as the result of a struggle of some sort. This morning when filing some material that had arrived throughout the week in my mail box sent by Professor Chris Halkides an American bio chemist on the teaching staff of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, Carolina, with several publish papers on his resume and a recent book published regarding forensic science applied to crime solving, an expert of high calibre no less. A man that helped free Amanda Knox.
Some one had mentioned the particular paper to me in passing but I didn't absorb the fine detail of course until reading it this morning. It's explosive for the Lundy case with it's complex science arguments which argue a novel and unorthodox approach to testing decomposed material against safe orthodox testing of highly secured forensic samples using methods which are peer reviewed and of international safety standards. Suddenly the case is back to the crime scene and out of laboratories worldwide intent on arguing what has been said to have been the most important evidence, evidence that can't be agreed upon, whether it could be human or animal central nervous system matter, could have been already preserved in food production. To be clear I have no problem with the safe and orthodox testing, but I do have a large problem with the novel testing particularly with its unproven track record that keeps a man in prison. And an even larger problem with our Courts willing to admit evidence from an American not authorised to do forensic tests in America or to give evidence in Court on forensic matters in his own country. It's got bogged down by chance, a chance to prove new pseudo science in a case which has already been found to be a Miscarriage of Justice and where The Crown are given another opportunity where strict law on unproven or potential unsafer forensic procedures would disqualify them from having a second chance.
So opening and reading the correspondence and it's particular link was not only a change of direction somewhat on the Lundy case but the chance to get back to something real, what happened? Not in a
Texas lab, not in a Palmerston North Police station where samples were removed from safe custody control into the hands of an unauthorised person, a break in the forensic pathway control of exhibits -but to the crime scene. A chance to look at evidence, to reconstruct what may have happened and who killed Christine Lundy and her 7 year old daughter Amber.
Here is the abstract or paper summary that brings into clear focus evidence more critical that the forensically abused and unsafe process of the microscopic shirt spots the origin of which continues on unabated to be argued. I like it.
"An important aspect of homicide investigations is the identification of the persons that had the last
contact with the victim prior to death. Violent crimes are frequently characterized by a struggle between the victim and the perpetrator where biological material can be expected to be exchanged between them. Forensic DNA typing enables the generation of genetic profiles by extraction and amplification of cellular material found under fingernails. The evidential value of these samples may be critical if the secondary contributor found in a DNA mixture, can be matched with a potential suspect, or through a DNA database search. The amount of biological material transferred under the fingernails during ‘‘casual’’ activities is not sufficient to genotype reportable mixtures. This may not be the case with homicide victims that may have struggled and died under violent circumstances.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of DNA mixtures found under the fingernails of
both victims and suspected perpetrators of violent deaths. We present a retrospective study of 137 DNA profiles genotyped from fingernail samples of homicide victims and suspects, collected at the Israeli National Center of Forensic Medicine. The majority of the samples produced single source profiles (n = 107, 78%) that matched those of the donor’s. DNA mixtures (n = 30, 22%) were found in increased frequency among victims (n = 25/100, 25%) compared to suspects (n = 5/37, 13.5%). Mixtures were sub-divided into high level (n = 15, 50%), low level (n = 9, 30%) and residual (n = 6, 20%), according to the number of the foreign contributors’ alleles. Thus, this distinctive group of homicide victims was found to express both elevated frequency of DNA mixtures together with
highly informative value of the secondary foreign profiles, as compared to other studied populations.
These findings support an important aspect for the criminal investigation in murder cases, where a
struggle may have ensued and the identification of an additional profile found in a mixture from a
fingernail sample may point to a possible perpetrator of the crime."
So here it is, information dripping with established and orthodox science relevant to the Lundy case, relevant to the deaths of the victims and the fight they may have put up before succumbing to 2 killers. 2 killers you might ask? Yes, 2. The DNA of 2 unknown males under the nails of Christine, confirmed and agreed upon and for some reason not made the main issue at the trial. Why? because of the total argument over what I believe to be the hoax science. Brain dies outside the body immediately, the reason why formalin is used to replace the blood in a body where the brain is to be removed for scientific purposes, deterioration is immediate otherwise. In Lundy we have alleged tiny spots of brain on a shirt in the boot of a car, then in a 'safe' in a police station before taken to America in a bag, not a refrigerated bag either launching an argument which has absorbed 1000s of hours of research, at least 100s of hours of legal preparation and been argued 4 different levels of Courts including the Privy Council where Lundy's first convictions were overturned before our weak Appeal Court agreed to let the evidence be used again in a majority Judgement that fell far below that of the highly researched and frequently argued minority opinion of Ellen France.
Well what I want to know is who are the 2 unknown strangers, why haven't they come forward, why haven't police found them and why is Mark Lundy in prison and not the 2 men that broke into his home while he was 2 hours away in Wellington?