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Hearing on 2nd DNA test called off

March 03, 1999|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A hearing on a request for a second set of DNA tests for a man charged with rape has been canceled, Franklin County District Attorney John F. Nelson said Tuesday.

Nelson would not comment on whether he plans to ask for a withdrawal of charges that Terry A. Boose, 33, of Gardners, Pa., raped a woman last year on the Appalachian Trail. An announcement on that may be made today, he said.

"At this time we have no scientific basis for the request," Nelson said. He said the decision came after he spoke with officials at the Pennsylvania State Police Crime Lab in Harrisburg, Pa., who prepared the sample to go to the crime lab in Greensburg, Pa., for DNA testing.

The results of tests on blood from Boose and vaginal swabs from the 28-year-old victim did not match, according to evidence presented at a hearing in December.

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According to Nelson, there were two state police officers present when the blood was taken from Boose at Chambersburg Hospital following his arrest last summer and the samples were handed directly to the officers.

"The theory that somehow the blood was switched at the time the sample was taken just doesn't hold water," Nelson said.

Another possibility raised at a hearing last week was that in rare cases, a person's blood DNA might not match the DNA in their semen or saliva.

"The crime lab people tell me the only situations where that can occur is if there was a recent massive blood transfusion or bone marrow transplant," Nelson said. Neither instance would apply to Boose, he said.

"The investigation will continue. Boose is not eliminated as a suspect" in the June 3, 1998, rape in Quincy Township, Nelson said.

The hearing that was canceled was actually to be a continuation of one suspended last week to allow the prosecution and defense to line up expert witnesses.

"I still have potential problems with the chain of custody of the blood sample, which may cause us to come back at some later time" and ask for a second set of tests, he said.

"I truly believe this man didn't do it," Assistant Public Defender Nancy Meyers said Tuesday. She had previously petitioned the court to dismiss the charges against Boose, but the request was denied.

Meyers said she had examined cases in Dauphin County, Pa., and West Virginia where women were approached by suspicious men on the trail around the time the woman was raped in Franklin County. She noted there is also an unsolved rape that occurred at Mattress Outlet, 1502 Lincoln Way East, in Guilford Township on July 6.

Boose was arrested June 9 in Cumberland County. He pleaded guilty to an escape charge there and is awaiting trial on a burglary charge involving the theft of women's underwear, his attorney for those cases said last week.

The woman picked Boose from a police lineup on Aug. 31, according to her preliminary hearing testimony in September.

According to court records, state police already knew by that date there was no DNA match.

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