The Pros And Cons Of DNA Paternity Testing

2131 Words 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 …show more content…
This may be an important factor to consider in the future, as the pace of genetic technological innovation is unpredictable. Maybe a direct correlation will be found? Therefore, here is a case that does not require any interpretation of genetically criminal behavior, but instead uses concrete DNA paternity testing. Would genetic evidence be able to eclipse the value of valid eyewitness testimony? In 2006, Kathy Phillips was accused of giving birth and subsequently killing a newborn infant that was found by her husband, Garry Phillips, near their property (Greenfogel). In this case, the geneticist testified in front of a jury that the DNA evidence indicated “the probability of Garry Phillips being the father is greater than 99.99 percent, and the odds of Kathy being the mother are greater than 99.9 percent” (Gathings). However, testimonies vehemently claimed that Kathy was not pregnant in any reasonable time frame to give birth to that newborn and that her personal disposition did not correlate to that of a murderer. In the end, the jury decided that Kathy was not guilty. This is a rare example of a case in which the jury took into account the case holistically, and considered genetic evidence on equal grounds as other pieces of evidence. Extrapolating this example back to the current topic of ambiguous behavioral genetics, it is essential for juries sitting on these behavioral cases to consider their cases holistically as well. For example, the environment that the accused grew up in may be as unchangeable as his genetic makeup, which is the case where there are minimal opportunities for movement through socioeconomic classes. Juries need to ensure that genetic evidence is evaluated along with other factors versus using the genetic evidence to serve as the panacea to acquit or convict all genetically abnormal

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