english101 final

english101 final - Andrea DeVos Final paper English 101 –...

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Andrea DeVos Final paper English 101 – Shaw In 1955, Ricky McGinn received the death sentence for the rape and murder of his stepdaughter, Stephanie Rae Flanary. She was only twelve. Her mother had left her with McGinn on the day she was killed, and he claimed that she had gotten sick after they drank beer together. He said that she had dozed off, then had awoke and gone for a walk. He waited around but she never returned. Three days later, her body, bludgeoned with an ax, was found in a culvert. Even though he protested his innocence, this was not his first murder trial. He had been arrested before, had been accused of rape, and even his own daughter had said that he had molested her. Even so, the 43-year-old claimed just before his scheduled execution on June 1, 2000, that the advanced DNA testing methods that were unavailable in 1994 would exonerate him. During the autopsy of Stephanie’s body, a single pubic hair was found, but the state of DNA testing at the time could not make a match. After the most advanced DNA tests available were done, the results were in. The tests came back positive: The pubic hair matched McGinn’s own personal DNA. He was the rapist and murderer, and on September 27 th , 2000, Ricky McGinn died by lethal injection (Ramsland). Through this story we see that DNA is one of the most helpful sources that criminalitsts, prosecutors, courts, and many others have for catching and convicting criminals. It is impossible to always trust someone’s word, but one can almost always trust science and the evidence. Because of how DNA analysis works, the new technologies available, and the efficiency and accuracy of DNA testing, it is a genuine and viable means of catching and potentially convicting a criminal.
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Because DNA is contained in blood, semen, skin cells, organs, muscle, brain cells, bone, teeth, hair, saliva, mucus, perspiration, fingernails, urine, feces – basically anything in one’s body – all of these fluids and body parts become important to forensic scientists at a crime scene (What Every Law ). At a crime scene, DNA can also be found just about anywhere. It can be found on hairs found in throats, in saliva on ski masks, in sweat from eyeglasses, and in blood on dirty laundry (Ramsland). When Crime Scene Investigators are processing a scene, they always check things susceptible for having DNA on them to try to link the suspect to the crime scene, or, at least, to the vicinity of the crime scene. Once DNA is discovered at a crime scene or on a piece of evidence and transported back to the lab, there are a few different index systems available to scientists for matching DNA to known suspects (Lee and Tirnady 3). A helpful tool when trying to match DNA is a system called CODIS. This stands for Combined DNA Index System, and it’s essentially just an electronic database of DNA profiles that can identify suspects by their DNA (Bell 62). There are also a few other databases, which are government run, that house fingerprints and DNA samples (What Every Law
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This note was uploaded on 03/24/2008 for the course ENGL 101 taught by Professor Various during the Fall '07 term at UNC.

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english101 final - Andrea DeVos Final paper English 101 –...

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