Although often not mentioned by name, the scientific lab work performed by the Serological Research Institute has played an important role in thousands of cases, many of which have been the subject of newspaper articles, books and television specials. Here is a sampling of the cases we’ve been involved in.
SERI analyst Casseday Baker successfully defended his analysis of DNA recovered from a handgun from challenges brought forth by the defense expert Keith Inman.
Drawing on SERI's long history and legacy in Forensic Biology, Chief Forensic Serologist Gary Harmor provided reports and affidavits on the state of forensics and forensic document reviews when the original trial took place. His expert opinion helped demonstrate the advice and value Mr. Henry could have received, had the forensic information been provided prior to the original trial.
Working with Centurion, SERI's chief forensic serologist Gary Harmor uncovered errors in the state forensic laboratory's testing, inaccurately labeling the semen stain as a match instead of an exclusion. The prosecutor subsequently declined to bring the case back to trial.
SERI provided DNA analysis and testimony for the prosecution in the Jeffrey Scott Jones case, tying Jones to the samples collected in the sexual assault kit. The case ended in a conviction and a dramatic throat slitting by the defendant.
The longest wrongful incarceration in California came to an end on the 24th of November after new DNA evidence demonstrating Hanline's innocence came to light. SERI's analysis, which generated a profile that clearly excluded Hanline, was instrumental securing the release.
Zhi Jian Mei's defense counsel called on SERI's Chief Serologist Gary Harmor to testify to his discovery of DNA under the suspects fingernails as part of a strategy to prove the suspect and victim were engaged in mutual combat.
Senior Forensic Serologist Thomas Fedor testified on March 27th 2014 in the Pamela Phillips case, explaining that despite the advanced DNA techniques used at SERI, no trace of Ron Young’s DNA was recovered from the bomb fragments; traces that should have been left by the most minor of contacts.
Jules Letemps was granted a new trial after SERI's examination of the original notes and reports revealed that the serological examination performed over 25 years ago were performed and reported incorrectly. SERI is one of the only laboratories in the country with the expertise and legacy to have made this discovery.
SERI's expert forensic DNA advice and old extracts help Denver's Cold Case project to finally bring answers in the case of Tracey Wooden.
Following his exoneration, the attorney for Larry Gillard’s civil suit contacted SERI for an expert review of the data that had led to the original conviction. Our analysis extensive experience with both the new and original technologies of body fluid identification allowed us to demonstrate that the Chicago lab should have excluded Larry Gillard when they first tested the evidence.
SERI provided DNA analysis on low level samples on two separate occasions and connected them to Rodney Alcala. Rodney Alcala is the subject of a Very Bad Men episode on Investigation Discovery
Paul Layton Keesling’s criminal career came to an end after SERI analysts were able to detect and generate a CODIS unloadable DNA profile from two drawer pulls. The cold hit gathered from the data SERI generated was a critical step in putting this career burglar back behind bars.
Gary Harmor of SERI was able, fifteen years ago, to extract a sample from the bite mark on the victim's lab coat that would eventually be used to exonerate an innocent man once the sensitivity of DNA analysis caught up with the challenging sample he extracted.
At the behest of the defense counsel for Hunt and his cohorts, SERI examined the blanket found in the van and discovered the semen stains that lead to the dismissal of the charges against them. Hirschfield, who was located by a CODIS cold hit, was eventually convicted of the crime.
In 2006 SERI reanalyzed the 13 year old vaginal swabs from the victim and obtained a DNA profile that exonerated Marlon Pendleton. Furthermore, with our long history in biological forensic analysis, we were able to determine that there would have been sufficient DNA to be successfully tested with the technology available over a decade ago, such as when the swab was collected in 1992.
George Allen was exonerated after 30 years based in part on Brian Wraxall's careful review of the state laboratory’s notes from their initial examination.
After SERI Director Gary Harmor provided a review of the documentation from the original case, Centurion Ministries was able to convince the judge that the absence of a serological expert constituted a critical failure on the part of the original defense counsel.
SERI analyst Amy Lee testified on DNA testing performed, drawing a match between both the suspect and the victim on a pair of latex gloves. He was later convicted and given 40 years to life.
Serological Research Institute performed the early serology testing linking the critical bloodstain to Lucas. The prosecution spent a year fighting in the courts to introduce this critical evidence into trial. The admittance of this evidence eventually lead to his conviction in 1979.
The Innocence Project was able to free David Lee Wiggins because SERI, twenty years after the crime, was able to produce a partial DNA profile which excluded him from the original victim’s clothing.
SERI was able to match DNA from hairs found at the scene with the suspect Robin Cho, providing a critical piece of evidence for the Los Angeles District Attorney in the Miracle Mile homicide case.
Floyd Bledsoe was released from custody in December based in part on DNA testing performed at SERI. Forensic Serologist Casseday Baker performed the testing which found Tom Bledsoe on the rape kit, and his father on the girl's clothing.
Gabriel Rosiles was convicted in December of murdering his girlfriend thanks in part to the work of analysts at SERI, whose work helped demonstrate that the attack was not the result of another, unknown male.
The Innocence Project turned to SERI to analyze the untested rape kits that they hoped would prove Jerry Hobbs innocence. SERI examined the kits and produced a full profile that not only exonerated Hobbs, but in 2010, was uploaded to CODIS and identified a new suspect.
Jorge Torrez, who the DNA linked to the death of Hobbs and Tobias, was convicted in April 2014 of the murder of a US Navy Sailor. SERI analysts testified to the Hobbs results during the sentencing phase that resulted in the death sentence.
SERI analysts were able to use DNA to identify Hawaii Police Departments John Doe as the missing boyfriend Boaz Johnson helping to clear up the 2013 murder of a pregnant woman.
SERI analyst Tom Fedor testified to his findings in an ongoing case, where he found several issues with another lab’s work during a detailed case review.
Once again demonstrating unrivaled sensitivity, SERI is able to recover a profile from a 1986 swab of the bite mark found on the victim and provide the evidence critical to closing this long standing cold case.
SERI provided mitochondrial and YSTR testing on a wide collection of items to support the defense’s work to free the wrongfully convicted “West Memphis Three”. This case was the subject of the HBO documentary “Paradise Lost” films.
During Ray Krone’s second trial, SERI’s analysis found exculpatory DNA that was heard, but ultimately ignored by the jury who convicted him a second time.
In one of SERI’s earliest cases, started in 1979, SERI founder Brian Wraxall was retained for his expert review of the serology and scientific testimony in the case both before and during Juan Corona’s second trial.
Although the original crime lab nearly consumed the semen stain during initial testing, SERI’s Chief Forensic Serologist Gary Harmor was able to recover enough residual material to generate a DNA profile.
Ogden PD turned to SERI to identify and develop a DNA profile from minute traces of blood among the leaf fragments found in Stephen Vargas’ car.
SERI’s ability to generate DNA profiles from old samples, which were 13 years old in this case, was critical to proving Alejandro Dominguez’s innocence.
For nearly twenty years, SERI was involved in the Davis murder case providing the evidence that lead to the charges against the first four suspects being dropped. Years later, SERI also performed additional mitochondrial DNA analysis on the case.
SERI’s extensive work on this case provided the compelling DNA evidence that finally allowed for the prosecution of this 1984 cold case murder.
Dean Cage, who was exonerated in 2008, has spent the last six years seeking compensation from the city of Chicago that was finally awarded in December. The findings and conclusions of Gary Harmor, who reviewed the testimony and case file of the original forensic examination and discovered several underlying faults and issues of quality.