Walla Walla Court documents reveal that DNA evidence has been recovered from a power drink can that was found near the scene of a fatal shooting in the city last year.
On Monday, Walla Walla County Superior Court Judge Donald W. Schacht authorized testing of the DNA from the then-unspecified item and approved appointment of an expert witness chosen by the defense to observe the testing process.
The test results will be compared to a sample of DNA collected from homicide suspect Daniel D. Dodd in connection with a previous criminal conviction.
Dodd, 43, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Kevin Myrick, who was shot in the face outside Myrick’s home at 1123 S. Third Ave. about 10:20 p.m. June 12, 2011.
Police believe Dodd killed Myrick because he was a law enforcement informant and prospective witness against Dodd’s girlfriend in a drug case.
Dodd has denied involvement in the slaying.
In a motion filed in court Wednesday, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Gabriel Acosta wrote: “A witness advised officers that he heard a loud bang from the area of 1123 S. 3rd, and saw a subject running out of an alley in the direction of where he heard the bang. A power drink can was found in the area of the suspect’s route of departure from the scene.”
The state crime lab was able to recover a small amount of DNA from the can.
“The analysis of this DNA sample may provide exculpatory evidence for the defense, or it may provide corroborating evidence of the defendant’s presence in the area of the crime scene despite his assertions to the contrary,” Acosta’s motion says.
But the testing will require using the entire sample.
Therefore, Schacht is allowing a defense expert to observe the process. But Schacht suggested in a letter to attorneys Thursday that before money is spent to acquire such an expert and the actual testing takes place, the complete DNA testing procedure be videotaped and otherwise documented for the record.
Then, if necessary, that could be reviewed by experts, Schacht wrote.