DNA testing OK'd in murder case

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— A Superior Court judge has authorized testing of DNA related to the slaying of a law enforcement informant in June 2011.

The DNA was found on an unspecified item near the scene of the fatal shooting of Kevin Myrick on South Third Avenue.

Daniel D. Dodd, 43, is charged with first-degree murder in Myrick’s death. The test results will be compared to a sample of Dodd’s DNA collected as the result of a previous criminal conviction.

At a brief hearing Monday afternoon, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Gabriel Acosta told Judge Donald W. Schacht the DNA sample is so small that testing will consume the entire amount.

Schacht agreed to allow the testing — which reportedly could exonerate Dodd if the DNA turns out not to be his — but went along with a request by defense attorney Michael de Grasse to have an expert of his choosing monitor the procedure to ensure it’s properly conducted.

Dodd has pleaded innocent to the premeditated killing of Myrick and his trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 6.

Myrick was shot in the face about 10:20 p.m. June 12, 2011, while working on his fiancee’s vehicle outside his residence at 1123 S. Third Ave. He died the next day at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Dodd was charged March 12 and is being held in the Walla Walla County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail. He had been incarcerated at the jail since June 16, 2011, on unrelated matters and had denied having anything to do with Myrick’s death.

Myrick was an informant for the Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office who had made a number of controlled drug buys, including one from Dodd’s girlfriend, Tina L. Taylor, officials said. She was arrested March 1, 2011, for delivery of hydrocodone and Myrick was a prospective witness against her, according to a police report filed in court.

When Dodd allegedly killed Myrick to eliminate him as a prospective witness, Taylor’s trial was set to begin later that month. She ended up pleading guilty and was sentenced to more than eight years in prison.

During the murder investigation, police learned that Dodd’s roommate had lent him a .357-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver about four days before Myrick was killed. Such a gun is consistent with one that will fire a .38-caliber slug that was found at the homicide scene.

Dodd had returned the borrowed gun to the roommate, who then reportedly gave it to another man who threw it into the Snake River under the bridge at Hood Park. After that man showed police the location March 6, Columbia Basin Dive Rescue recovered a revolver matching the suspected murder weapon.

If convicted as charged, Dodd could be sentenced to more than 36 years in prison.

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