The recent “hit” of a DNA sample that police said links an alleged serial bank robber to a 2009 rape and home invasion is the latest example of how the technology is helping law enforcement officials jump-start cold cases.
On July 26, Putnam police charged 37-year-old Eric Sheridan, formerly of 109 1/2 Smith St., with first-degree sexual assault and home invasion after receiving word from the state Forensic Science Laboratory that a DNA sample on file for Sheridan matched evidence collected in the 2009 crime.
Putnam police said, until the DNA hit came back, the case had stalled.
Sheridan had been jailed since February on several robbery and larceny charges. He has prior felony convictions, one of the prerequisites for a DNA sample to be extracted and filed.
The state forensic lab receives roughly 12,000 convicted offender samples annually, with 20,000 profiles currently entered into the state’s DNA database. The database is used to compare DNA profiles gleaned from recovered crime scene evidence with the DNA profiles generated from convicted offenders. According to state statute, an individual charged with a serious crime is required to provide a DNA sample.
Plainfield police Capt. Mario Arriaga said the database has helped the department close some tough cases.
“We’ve had a few, including robberies, but the one that always comes to mind is Scott Deojay,” he said.
Deojay, a Plainfield resident, was awaiting trial in 2006 for the murder of Woodstock resident Judith Nilan when a notice came through to the department that his DNA matched evidence in a 2004 rape case, Arriaga…
click here to read more.