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DNA Expert Discredited, Barred From Testifying At Denver Trial

DENVER (CBS4/AP) – Prosecutors say a man who has testified as a DNA expert in the Casey Anthony trial and helped overturn the murder conviction of Timothy Masters wasn’t allowed to testify at a trial in Denver this week after they say he was discredited.

The Denver District Attorney’s Office says Denver District Court Judge Brian Whitney barred Richard Eikelenboom from the stand during a sex assault trial after a prosecutor got him to admit he had no direct DNA extraction or analysis experience and that his lab hasn’t been accredited.

Richard Eikelenboom (credit: LinkedIn)

Richard Eikelenboom (credit: LinkedIn)

“A Denver prosecutor got Eikelenboom to admit that he had no direct DNA extraction or analysis experience, that he operates a lab that has not been accredited, that he personally failed his basic proficiency tests in 2011 and 2012, and admitted that he was ‘self-trained’ in running DNA profiles,” Lynn Kimbrough with the district attorney’s office said in a statement.

Eikelenboom had been called to testify in a 2013 sexual assault case involving two co-defendants. The defendants, Temesghen Gebreyohannes, 33; and Maicle Abraha, 26; were found guilty of two counts of sexual assault.

Temesghen Gebreyohannes (credit: Denver District Attorney's Office)

Temesghen Gebreyohannes (credit: Denver District Attorney’s Office)

“A 22-year-old woman was in lower downtown Denver at a work-related Christmas party when she became inebriated and then got separated from her friends. The victim woke up the next morning in a motel room with no recollection of how she got there; she had been sexually assaulted,” Kimbrough said.

Maicle Abraha (credit: Denver District Attorney's Office)

Maicle Abraha (credit: Denver District Attorney’s Office)

DNA linked Gebreyohannes and Abraha to the attack. They face life in prison when sentenced in November.

“I appreciate Judge Whitney recognizing that Mr. Eikelenboom’s opinions about DNA have no basis in science and that he was not qualified to testify as an expert,” Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey said.

Timothy Masters received $10 million in settlements from the city of Fort Collins and Larimer County for being wrongly imprisoned. He was released in 2008 after DNA evidence proved he was wrongly convicted in the 1987murder of Peggy Hetrick. Masters spent 10 years behind bars before his release. (credit: CBS)

Timothy Masters received $10 million in settlements from the city of Fort Collins and Larimer County for being wrongly imprisoned. He was released in 2008 after DNA evidence proved he was wrongly convicted in the 1987 murder of Peggy Hetrick. Masters spent 10 years behind bars before his release. (credit: CBS)

Eikelenboom’s testing helped win the release of Masters. His attorney, David Lane, says it’s not unusual for the competence of expert witnesses to be questioned.

LINK: Transcript From The Trial

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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