DNA tests virtually prove Dwayne Woods raped one of two women murdered in a Spokane Valley trailer home last year, an expert witness told a jury Monday.
In two hours of detailed testimony, John Brown of the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab said four of six tests taken from one of the victims provided clear DNA proof she was assaulted by Woods, 27.
Woods faces two counts of aggravated murder for the beating deaths of Jade Moore, 18, and Telisha Shaver, 22. If convicted, he faces a possible death penalty.
Woods also is charged with attempted murder for beating and stabbing Telisha Shaver’s sister, Venus, found unconscious in the trailer where the attacks occurred on April 27, 1996.
Moore and Venus Shaver, 20, had telephoned Woods earlier while they were housesitting the trailer, which belonged to Shaver’s aunt.
Venus Shaver testified that Woods came over after 3 a.m., grew angry when Moore was not awake, then struck Venus Shaver in the head when she refused to have sex.
Shaver said she recalled remembering nothing else until awaking in a hospital several days later.
Prosecutors say Telisha Shaver came to the trailer later and, like Moore, died from severe blows to her skull caused by an aluminum baseball bat.
Woods insists he is innocent. DNA is the human genetic material contained in each body’s cells. By comparing DNA in Woods’ blood with semen samples taken from Moore’s body, prosecutors say they can establish he was at the scene and attacked her.
Spokane County Prosecutor Jim Sweetser asked how many other people could match the DNA sample taken from Moore.
“Among African-Americans, one in 125 million,” Brown said.
But defense attorney Fred Leatherman pressed Brown, suggesting the two tests called inconclusive actually showed no match with Woods’ DNA.
Those two tests, Leatherman argued, might have been viewed by other scientists as “exclusions” - meaning there was no match with Woods.
“I don’t agree,” Brown replied. He said the absence of DNA markers matching Woods in the inconclusive tests were the result of insufficient samples.
“If we had more DNA to test, it would have given us a clearer result of what’s there,” said Brown.
Prosecutors expect to rest their case against Woods today.
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