Time flies…and for many this common saying does not hold good. The clock stopped ticking for Ray Krone on the 31st of December, 1991 when he was arrested and charged with murder, kidnapping, and sexual assault. He was sentenced to death in the initial trial.
Krone was accused of the brutal murder of a thirty-six year old female victim who was found, nude, (morning of December 29, 1991) in the men’s restrooom of the Phoenix, Arizona bar where she worked . She had been fatally stabbed and there was little physical evidence left at the crime scene. Blood at the crime scene matched with the victim’s blood type and saliva on her body. Her body carried bite marks on the breast and neck. The investigators heard from the victim that a regular customer named Ray Krone was to help her close up the bar the previous night.
The investigating police team asked Krone to make a Styrofoam impression of his teeth for comparison. They did not find any semen traces and no DNA tests were performed. Experts for the prosecution, however, testified that the bite-marks found on the victim’s body matched the impression that Krone had made on the Styrofoam. The jury convicted him on the counts of murder and kidnapping and sentenced Krone to death and a consecutive twenty-one year term of imprisonment, respectively.
Krone maintained his innocence during his 1992 trial. He claimed to be asleep in his bed at the time of the crime. He was found not guilty of the sexual assault and continued his appeal to innocence.
In 1996, Krone won a new trial on appeal. He was convicted again primarily based on the state’s supposed expert bite-mark testimony. However, the judge this time sentenced him to life in prison and cited doubts about whether or not Krone was the true killer.
After 10 years of serving his imprisonment, in 2002, DNA testing conducted on the saliva and blood found on the victim excluded Krone as the source and instead matched a man named Kenneth Phillips.
Phillips lived a short distance from the bar where the victim worked and he had never been considered a suspect in her murder. On April 8, 2002, Krone was released from prison and on April 24th, the District Attorney’s office filed to formally dismiss all charges against him. Murder and sexual assault charges have since been brought against Phillips.
Krone was the twelfth death row inmate whose innocence has been proven through DNA testing after conviction. Prior to his arrest, Krone had no previous criminal record, had been honorably discharged from the military, and had worked in the postal service for seven years.
The real life case of Ray Krone reminds us of the famous words of Sherlock Holmes to Watson inArthur Conan Doyle’s first novel A study in Scarlet from1886: “I’ve found it! I’ve found it”, he shouted, running towards us with a test-tube in his hand. “I have found a re-agent which is precipitated by hemoglobin, and by nothing else”!
Roughly 100 years later Alec Jeffreys at the University of Leicester, in UK, found extraordinarily variable and heritable patterns from repetitive DNA. He called the method ‘DNA fingerprinting’. This invention opened up a new area of science.
Image Source: Wikipedia
The recent advances in molecular biology have revolutionized all aspects of dentistry.
DNA is the language of life. It yields information beyond our imagination, both in health or disease. DNA fingerprinting is a tool used to unravel all the mysteries associated with the oral cavity. The aarrival of this technology has revolutionized the concept of identification.
Image Source: Wikipedia
It is reasonable to anticipate that future advances in DNA technology will reduce the time and cost factor for identification of unknown deceased. Meanwhile clinical observation of available medical and dental patient records remains the gold standard for forensic pathology.
Coming Soon: Fellowship In Dental Genetics And Clinical Diagnostics
(Accredited by: American Council of Training and Development)
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