The Crime Scene ( Hagerty ) Essay

2131 Words Oct 30th, 2016 9 Pages
“There are murders and then there are ... hacking to death, trails of blood…I have not seen one like this,” said one of the investigators at the crime scene (Hagerty). In 2006, Bradley Waldroup brutally murdered his estranged wife’s friend and tried to kill his wife, using a machete and a shotgun to commit murder and mutilation. He was arrested for felony murder and attempted-first degree murder, a premeditated crime that would be sufficient to warrant the death penalty. Waldroup’s defense lawyers had their work cut out for them; in order to make a case, they decided to examine Waldroup’s DNA for the Monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) gene, and found that he had the particular gene variant that correlated with violent behavior. It was clear that the defense wanted to portray the act as a spontaneous explosion, and his genetic makeup mitigated his criminal responsibility. Jurors had to decide how to interpret the testimony about Waldroup’s genetic predisposition. After their deliberation, genetic evidence reduced Waldroup’s crime from something that seemed heinously premeditated to a crime of an explosion of anger, built from the very foundation of his genes. While this brutal case is an extreme example, it highlights the essential importance of each stakeholder in the criminal justice system in truly understanding the implications of genetic evidence by assuming a sort of “genetic literacy.” These implications include genetic determinism, statistical literacy, and taking a holistic…

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