Judge: Son’s DNA can be used at father’s trial
RENO (AP) – DNA taken from the young son of a man accused of killing a college student and raping two other women can be used as evidence in his upcoming trial to try to link the suspect to the crimes, a judge ruled.
Washoe District Judge Robert Perry on Monday denied a motion by defense lawyers for James Biela to suppress the evidence.
Investigators said Biela declined to provide a voluntary DNA sample, so officers received permission from his girlfriend to test the couple’s son.
From that, forensic experts determined the child’s biological father could not be ruled out as the source of DNA evidence gathered from crime scenes.
Biela, a Sparks construction worker, is charged with the murder of 19-year-old Brianna Denison, who vanished while sleeping on a friend’s couch in January 2008 near the University of Nevada, Reno campus. Her body was found about three weeks later.
He’s also charged with raping two other women near the university. Biela has pleaded not guilty. He could face the death penalty if convicted. His trial is scheduled to begin in May.
The judge delayed ruling on a motion by Maizie Pusich, chief deputy public defender, on whether evidence netted from police searches of Biela’s home computers should be heard by a jury.
Prosecutors alleged Biela’s computers showed thousands of Internet search hits for key words such as Brianna Denison, abduction, strangle, rapist and stalking.
Perry told lawyers another hearing on that matter would be held before the trial begins.