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No DNA Link to Wash. State Shooting

April 17, 2003

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) _ DNA tests on a shell casing found at the scene of a killing here two years ago found no link to sniper suspects John Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

Investigators sent the casing to an FBI lab hoping to find clues to the killing of Keenya Cook, 21. Before last year’s Washington, D.C.-area shooting spree, Muhammad and Malvo spent time in Tacoma and Bellingham.

``My understanding is there was simply no human DNA found, other than the victim’s blood,″ said Jerry Costello, Pierce County’s chief criminal deputy prosecutor.

Cook was shot at her aunt’s home, and some circumstantial evidence links Muhammad and Malvo to the killing. A witness has said Muhammad and Malvo stayed with him and had access to the handgun used in the shooting.

Cook’s aunt did some accounting for Muhammad’s auto repair business. When he and his second wife divorced, and he took their three children, Isa Nichols called police to help Mildred Muhammad get them back.

Muhammad, 42, and Malvo, 18, have been linked to 20 shootings last year, including 13 deaths, in Virginia, Maryland, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and the District of Columbia. They face trial in Virginia first.

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