DNA as Evidence

LANCE DAVID BEAN, Appellant v. THE STATE OF WYOMING, Appellee,
2016 WY 48 (2016).

This case, originally happened in 1972, but was finally decided May 11th, 2016. The situation entailed a home warming party of Mrs. Reher’s, where the appellant Lance Bean was in attendance. The party went until 2 in the morning when most of the attendees either went home or went out to a local bar. After two days, Mrs. Reher’s body was discovered in her apartment. Her pants were pulled down, her underwear was ripped, and her blouse was pushed up. She had several wounds including a slash on her neck, with lots of blood next to her neck. There was a lot of physical evidence that was collected, but DNA was not originally tested because it was 1972. The DNA was tested in 2000, 2005, and 2011. The case was reopened in 2011 when DNA results were obtained from the evidence.

The results found from the evidence could not exclude Lance Bean as a suspect and he was eventually convicted. But prior to the trial Lance Bean filed a motion to exclude DNA evidence at the trial because the DNA was collected in 1972. This means that the collection procedures were not up to the standards they are today, and there could have been contamination and degradation. Bean filled the motion saying that the results from the DNA evidence were unreliable and inadmissible. His motion was denied.

The DNA evidence from years ago were still able to be tested and convict a man of his actions nearly 40 years after the incident. DNA evidence is a powerful tool in the forensic and legal world today.

https://www.courts.state.wy.us/Documents/Opinions/2016WY48.pdf

Forensic Summary by Marissa Felinczak 

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