XENIA — A Xenia man was found guilty of raping a 10-year-old girl after three days of jury trial in Greene County Common Pleas Court Thursday. Additionally, after four hours of deliberation, a jury found Joshua Landers, 27, not guilty of two other child rape charges.
Preliminary indications were that Landers would be sentenced by Judge Michael Buckwalter early next week.
This is the second time the case has been heard in Greene County Common Pleas Court. The case was originally presented in September 2014, but jurors could not come to a unanimous verdict, which resulted in the new trial being heard this week.
The court heard testimony from several witnesses over the course of the trial, including the case’s victim, who testified about incidents of sexual contact with Landers back in 2013. The court also heard from DNA analysis experts and a Dayton Children’s Hospital pediatrician who examined the victim after sexual abuse was reported.
Testimony during the trial also revealed that Landers was the roommate of one of the victim’s mother’s friends and had been tasked with watching the girl on occasion.
According to Hallie Garafalo, a forensic scientist from the state’s crime lab – the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) – Landers could not be excluded as a possible contributor to DNA found on the victim’s undergarment. According to her report, based on FBI numbers, the proportion of the population that could not be excluded as possible contributors to the sperm fraction from the underwear was one in every 833 individuals.
Garafalo later testified that neither Landers nor any of his paternal male relatives could be eliminated as the source of the DNA profile found on the underwear. According to Garafalo, numbers from another database (U.S. Y-StR) put the estimated frequency of the profile as one in 5,236 males.
Garafalo also testified that neither Landers nor any of his paternal male relatives could be eliminated as the source of the DNA profile found in the victim. According to Garafalo, the U.S. Y-StR numbers put the estimated frequency of the profile as 1 in 2,000 males.
“What all this means is that with conventional DNA testing I was able to detect foreign male DNA, and I cannot exclude Mr. Landers as a contributor to that,” Garafalo said. “With the male-specific DNA testing, I was able to detect a good amount of male DNA on both the underwear and [in the victim] and from that data, from that male DNA, I cannot exclude Mr. Landers as a contributor to that DNA.”
According to testimony on Thursday from Dr. Julie Heinig, an independent DNA analyst expert witness called by the defense, “Based on the statistics, we cannot say definitively it is his DNA or that he’s the contributor,” but also noted that Landers could not be excluded as a contributor to the DNA evidence in the case.
The court allowed for the dismissal of a fourth charge of attempted rape during proceedings Thursday.
Reach Nathan Pilling at 937-502-4498 or on Twitter @XDGNatePilling.
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