DNA leads to arrest in 2008 Guilford burglary

Posted March 10, 2011, at 5:39 p.m.

GUILFORD, Maine — DNA that was processed from blood left behind on a window during a break-in in Guilford in February 2008 has implicated a Sangerville man.

Arrested Wednesday on a charge of burglary was Jason Parker, 24, of Sangerville.  Parker posted $200 cash bail and was released Wednesday from the Piscataquis County Jail.  His initial court appearance is set for April 25.

Parker allegedly broke a window and climbed inside the Shell Station in Guilford and used a pry bar to open a locked filing cabinet. More than $1,000 was stolen from the cabinet, according to Investigator Guy Dow of the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department, who handled the complaint. A wheel balancing tool also was reported missing in the break-in.

Dow found a spot of blood on a window and sent the sample to the Maine State Police Crime Laboratory for analysis. The DNA sample recovered from that blood was profiled and entered into a federally supported database, as is routine with any body fluid or genetic material found at a crime scene, according to Lt. Bill Harwood, director of the Maine State Police Crime Laboratory. That sample generated a new lead this week, Harwood said.

Maine has a law  requiring anyone convicted of murder or any felony and certain other offenses, such as the sexual abuse of a minor, to submit DNA samples to the crime laboratory. Those samples are entered into a database with forensic unknown samples that were taken from crime scenes.  When a match arises from the database, the police handling the case are notified, which is what occurred in this case, Harwood said.

Harwood said his office has a backlog of unsolved cases. There are 192 cases in the chemistry section,  which includes trace analyses; 442 cases in the DNA section; 54 cases in the firearms unit; and 194 latent print cases. That backlog is actually down from last year in all areas except  DNA because the department is making every effort to find ways to work smarter, he said.

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