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Attorney General Bill Lockyer, Tehama Sheriff Clay Parker Announce DNA Cold Hit Identifies State Prison Inmate As Suspect in 1984 Murder
(Sacramento) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer and Tehama County Sheriff Clay Parker announced today that a recent "cold hit" made in the California Department of Justice (DOJ) DNA Laboratory in Berkeley identified the suspect of a 1984 Tehama County sexual assault and murder.
David James McIntosh, 53, is currently serving a term in Folsom Prison for parole violations associated with a conviction for failing to register as a sex offender. He will be charged Wednesday, February 21, for the 1984 sexual assault and murder of 13-year-old Heidi Fredette. McIntosh was identified when evidence from the crime yielded a match to McIntosh's DNA profile stored in the DOJ Convicted Felon Databank. McIntosh was not considered a suspect for the crimes when the DNA database match produced a "cold hit" on January 29, 2001.
"Our DNA cold hits have identified criminals who mistakenly believed they got away with rape and murder," Lockyer said. "Not only are we holding violent criminals accountable, but we are also reducing the number of future victims and devastated families."
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. McIntosh's DNA profile is in the databank as the result of a 1987 California felony conviction for assault with intent to commit rape.
Based on the recent proven success of the state's DNA Databank, Lockyer is sponsoring legislation this year to expand the list of qualifying offenses to include residential burglary, first-degree robbery, carjacking and arson.
The January, 1984 sexual assault and murder case was investigated by the Tehama County Sheriff's Office, and the forensics work was done by the DOJ Bureau of Forensics Services Crime Laboratory in Redding. Although biological materials were collected from the crime scene in 1984, the use of DNA technology to identify crime suspects was in its infancy and seldom used at the time. The FBI analyzed the biological sample, but only for enzymes, and the result was to eliminate a person who was considered a suspect. The forensic work was re-examined in recent years as part of the DOJ "Old and Cold" program, and a DNA profile was developed in 1999.
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 suspects for two of those cases has been released. Christopher Cardwell was charged earlier this month with the February, 2000, rape and robbery of a Los Angeles woman, and Perry Tatmon was charged last week with the January, 2000 rape of a developmentally disabled Santa Rosa woman.
"Even after many years, law enforcement and criminal justice professionals involved with this case, including Sheriff Parker, who as a Deputy Sheriff was the first officer on the scene, remain haunted by the viciousness of this crime," said Lockyer. "The Tehama Sheriff's Department never gave up on this case, and neither did we."
Upon taking office in 1999, Attorney General Lockyer pledged to eliminate the backlog of more than 100,000 unanalyzed convicted felon blood samples. The lab is now on pace to eliminate this backlog by July 1, 2001, when there will be a projected total of 200,000 DNA profiles from convicted felons that will be searchable against DNA profiles from crime scene evidence.
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.