Attorney General Bill Lockyer Announces That DNA Match Identifies Suspect in Santa Rosa Sexual Assault

Thursday, February 15, 2001
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

(Sacramento) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer announced that as a result of a recent "cold hit" made in the California Department of Justice (DOJ) DNA Laboratory in Berkeley, the suspect for a January, 2000 sexual assault of a Santa Rosa developmentally disabled woman has been identified and apprehended.

Perry Lee Tatmon, 36, of Santa Rosa, was arrested today by the Santa Rosa Police Department, and booked on a number of charges, including rape, and oral copulation, by force or fear. Tatmon was identified when evidence from the crime yielded a match to Tatmon's DNA profile stored in the DOJ DNA Convicted Felon Databank. Tatmon, who was on parole at the time of the January, 2000 sexual assault, was not considered a suspect for the crimes when the DNA database match produced a "cold hit" on January 29, 2001.

"We are beginning to take full advantage of DNA technology to help law enforcement agencies solve crimes," said Lockyer. "This case is another example where the suspect was unknown to law enforcement until an identity was determined based on DNA."

California law requires blood and saliva samples to be taken from individuals convicted of any of nine specified felony sexual assaults and other violent crimes. The samples yield DNA profiles, which are stored in the state DOJ Convicted Felon DNA Databank in Berkeley. DNA profiles extracted from crime scene evidence are compared to DNA profiles in the databank. Tatmon's DNA profile is in the databank as a result of a 1992 Alameda County felony conviction for attempted murder.

Four other matches, or "cold hits" were made by the state's DNA Lab on January 29 when 21,000 recently developed DNA profiles of convicted felons in the Short Tandem Repeats (STR) format were compared for the first time to DNA STR profiles extracted from crime scene evidence from unsolved cases. The matches identified five separate suspects for five unrelated cases.

Local law enforcement agencies were notified about the identified suspects and have proceeded appropriately with that information. So far, the identity of the suspect for one of those cases, Christopher Cardwell, has been released. Cardwell was charged last week with the February, 2000, rape and robbery of a Los Angeles woman.

As a result of DNA "cold hits" a total to 29 suspects have been identified since the DOJ DNA Convicted Felon Databank was established in 1994.

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