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New Lab Tests Lead to Rape Arrest

June 22, 2006

HOUSTON (AP) _ A suspect has been arrested in a rape case that, because of faulty DNA evidence from Houston’s troubled crime lab, sent an innocent man to prison for more than four years, authorities said Wednesday.

New lab tests indicate that Donnie L. Young, 24, was one of two people who left DNA evidence on the clothing of a 41-year-old woman who was raped in October 1998, police said.

Young was arrested last week and charged with aggravated sexual assault. The second suspect remains at large.

After her assault, the woman identified Josiah Sutton, then 16, as one of her attackers. Sutton was convicted of rape and sentenced to 25 years.

After the Houston police crime lab came under scrutiny, new DNA tests discredited the findings that played a large part in Sutton’s conviction. He was released in 2003, and Gov. Rick Perry pardoned him a year later.

Investigators learned last month that the FBI’s national database of convicts’ DNA had matched Young to the rape evidence, Officer Keith McMurtry said.

The DNA section of the Houston lab was shut down in 2002 after an audit raised red flags about analysis procedures.

It is set to reopen after being accredited by the American Society of Crime Lab Directors, officials announced Tuesday.

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