Richard Eikelenboom
DENVER -- A forensic scientist who has claimed to be a DNA expert in trials in Colorado and across the United States was discredited this week in a Denver trial, according to the Denver District Attorney's Office.
However, Richard Eikelenboom disputes that claim.
"A Denver prosecutor got Eikelenboom to admit that he had no direct DNA extraction or analysis experience, that he operates a lab that has not been accredited, that he personally failed his basic proficiency texts in 2011 and 2012, and admitted that he was a 'self-trained' in running DNA profiles," the DA's office said.
"They're lying when they say I don’t do my own DNA work," Eikelenboom told Denver7.
He said being on the witness stand Monday was a "very hostile environment" and that the "lawyers were not able to explain it [his work]."
Eikelenboom said he's been accredited by the Dutch National Accreditation Council for years and Monday, he received accreditation by the American Society of Crime Lab Directors (ASCLD).
"I would not get that if I was not a solid scientist," Eikelenboom told Denver7.
Testimony this week in a 2013 sex assault case in Denver District Court found that Eikelenboom committed "fundamental DNA analysis errors by not following scientific standards in the DNA field," prosecutors said.
"[That's] completely unfounded," Eikelenboom said. "What I think also went wrong, the lawyers we were working for were not well prepared. The District Attorney never let me finish my answer."
"I appreciate Judge Whitney recognizing that Mr. Eikelenboom’s opinions about DNA have no basis in science and that he was not qualified to testify as an expert," said Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey in a statement sent to Denver7.
"[This is a] weird system. As District Attorney, you can say all kinds of things about the expert," Eikelenboom told Denver7. "I don’t think the judge completely understood what happened."
Eikelenboom has been used as an expert witness in high-profile cases, including the trial of Casey Anthony, who was acquitted in 2011 of killing her 3-year-old daughter in Florida.
Eikelenboom testified in the trial of Indiana State Trooper David Camm, who was accused of killing his wife and two children. Camm was convicted twice, but the verdicts were overturned. In the third trial, Eikelenboom testified that he found someone else's DNA on the clothing of two victims and Camm was acquitted.
Eikelenboom's testing and testimony led to a Colorado man being exonerated in a murder case after spending years behind bars.
In 2008, Tim Masters walked away from the Larimer County Justice Center a free man after skin cell DNA tests found Masters did not kill Peggy Hettrick in 1987.
Her body was found in a field near Masters' home. He was convicted without any DNA evidence linking him to the crime.
"In Tim Masters case, I did all the DNA work myself," Eikelenboom told Denver7 Thursday.
In 2008, Eikelenboom testified at Masters hearing about skin cell DNA detection.
"Skin cell investigations are still in their (infancy), …it’'s not performed worldwide very often. People do it on an occasional basis," said Eikelenboom at the time.
He said skin cell DNA is often left behind in violent crimes like Hettrick’'s, where the victim is grabbed and dragged. He said the perpetrator's sweat cells can be found embedded in the victim'’s clothing.
Eikelenboom took credit for Masters getting out of prison.
"It's always very special when you get someone out, especially in this case, a life sentence," said Eikelenboom in 2008.
Eikelenboom's company's website says the lab's work in the Masters case led to the first Touch DNA exoneration in the United States.
-Eikelenboom's lab-
Eikelenboom's wife, Selma, started the private lab in the Netherlands in 2003 called Independent Forensic Services.
Richard joined the company in 2005, he said.
The company's website says Richard Eikelenboom is a forensic scientist specializing in DNA trace recovery and bloodstain pattern analysis. 
It says he studied analytical chemistry and Polytechnic Biochemistry. It said he is studying for his PhD on touch DNA at the University of Denver.
In 2011, the Eikelenboom's built a lab in Jefferson County.
A short review of the JonBenet Ramsey case, by Richard Eikelenboom

Posted By IFS

Case outline

I was asked to review the JonBenet Ramsey case for A&E. For this review, I received reports, pictures and tables with DNA results. I assume that the DNA profiles provided to me in tables are a correct representation of the raw data. However, I did not receive the raw data of the DNA profiles, meaning that verification of DNA results was not possible.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) did several DNA investigations in 1997 but used non-sensitive, not very informative DNA tests, which was normal for the US at that time. CBI did find some DNA from unknown sources but the evidential value is low. Because of this reason I will not review these results any further in this article.

What is interesting though, is that early in 1997 the parents were obviously suspects. Below one can see part of a report from CBI dated from January 15, 1997. The homicide took place around December 26, 1996. So, in a couple of weeks the parent became suspects. Knowing a fair deal about miscarriages of justice world-wide, I can state that considering the parents at such an early stage does not help truth finding and keeping an open mind. It could be that in the US this is normal practice but in Europe you need to gather (a lot) evidence first, before one can call someone a suspect in a case. E.g. a confession, DNA evidence, reliable witnesses etc. I don’t believe there was any of that in the first weeks of the case. Making the parents suspect can cause tunnel vision which can lead to overlooking important evidence. I don’t say that the parents are not of interest when a girl of six is found killed in her own house, but an open mind is extremely important to prevent tunnel vision.

I have talked with several television networks about the JonBenet Ramsey case. I found it interesting that most of them had a certain angle on the case which was leading in the questions and broadcasts. It did not appear that any of the television networks were interested in all evidence and opportunities of investigation to see which ever direction that would lead. For that reason, I will put my ideas in this small article. Hopefully, somebody one day will do something with it.

In 1996, DNA investigations were performed but DNA awareness was not present by most perpetrators. Furthermore, touch DNA was not “invented” yet. Criminals could not anticipate that we would be able to get DNA from objects that they had touched. In this light, it is unlikely that the perpetrator(s) in the JonBenet Ramsey case could prevent leaving DNA on the victim and touched items.

Several important findings can be obtained from the pathology report. Below you find some findings in the pathology report written about the autopsy on JonBenet. Why is this important for a DNA investigation? Some scientists don’t want to know anything about a case before DNA testing because of tunnel vision. We are not supporters of this school of thought, because without information the investigation will be far less efficient and a lot of important evidence will never be found. The scientist can get biased by information but that bias does not influence the outcome of the DNA result. I can think that a suspect must be the perpetrator of a crime but if he/she had never contact with the victim I won’t be able to find his/her DNA. I had this several times when I started coordinating DNA cases. Police and DA’s pushed my thoughts in the direction of a suspect. Soon I learned always to follow the DNA and not my bias against a suspect. If the suspect killed/raped the victim, I would find the evidence.

The conclusions in the autopsy reveal a lot of (forceful) contact between perpetrator(s) and the victim, the clothing and other pieces of evidence. During my career, I have performed a lot of crime scene investigations including scenes which were staged. This would be the first where parent(s) would go to such extreme violence and sexual assault to stage a crime scene. Weird stuff happens during crimes; therefore it is important to follow the evidence and not your gut feeling. We will analyse the pictures and the autopsy report later to give more information about the injuries and time of death and the sequence of events.

DNA investigation

It looks like Denver DA Mitch Morrissey wanted to indict the father and the mother. There is one problem however, in that his own Denver police lab did find DNA of at least one unknown male inside the panties of JonBenet. From the complex DNA mixtures form the panties an DNA profile of an unknown man was deduced. A profile that does not match the parents but that did not stop Morrissey of willing to indict the parents for their daughter’s murder. In my opinion based on thousands of (DNA) cases, DNA of an unknown male donor on the (inside) of a panty of a girl of 6 years old is very important. If you think it is not crime related than there needs to be a very good explanation for that. Some of the biggest miscarriages of justice take place because people don’t find it necessary to find a good explanation for certain DNA findings. BODE technology, a private lab, made things worse for Morrissey because they confirmed the results from the Denver lab. They took two samples from the long-johns which Jon Benet was wearing. These samples were not taken at random but from the sides where a perpetrator could have pulled them down. If you find an indication of the same unknown male on a girl of 6 that has been raped, you want to know who that is, before you starting an indictment of the parents.

The only way for this exculpatory DNA to go away is if huge mistakes were made by either the Denver lab and/or CBI. These mistakes could be a contamination combined with the inability to detect such a mistake. If this is the case, the lab at fault could lose its accreditation.

A deduced DNA profile from the panties was put in the national DNA database (CODIS). Never a matcht was obtained. There is a problem though, if one allele (number) is put wrongly in the DNA database there will never be a match.

Searching non-stringent in the DNA database should be performed but this is not common in the US. With this method one can find close matches to the profile and it will give a list of persons of interest. Furthermore, a search for familial DNA could be performed. The donor may not be in the database but perhaps his father, brother or other family members.

The racial background of the profile of the unknown male, which was deduced from the mixture from the panties, can be investigated.

Further investigations for DNA

From information obtained from reports and documentaries, I made a list evidence which should be investigated on blood, saliva, semen, sweat and touch DNA.Beside a standard autosomal DNA investigation, all samples should be investigated on Y-chromosomal DNA, which is only present in males. The victim’s DNA (female) is than filtered out. This gives a much bigger chance on finding DNA belonging to the perpetrator(s) on different incriminating locations.

Below I put up a list of items of interest. It speaks for itself why most items can be investigated for (touch) DNA.

The list of items of interest:

The garrotte
Rope on garrotte
Fingernails JonBenet
Hair JonBenet
Nek samples JonBenet
Mouth oral vaginal and anal swabs JonBenet
Ligature of wrist JonBenet
Shirt JonBenet was wearing
Long johns JonBenet was wearing
Blanket jr
Ring right hands JonBenet
Panties on touch DNA
Blue rope
White blanket
Duct tape on the white blanket (duct tape is difficult to handle with gloves on)
DNA on ransom note
Suitcase placed under window
Window basement
Items in the suitcase (sham, duvet and a Dr. Seuss book)

Probably there is more evidence of interest available, but this list is a good start of the most important items. When a good DNA investigation is performed DNA of the perpetrator(s) should be obtained.

If no DNA results are obtained, which I find very unlikely, as a last resort the body of JonBenet could be exhumed to take new and better samples from bruises and locations where the perpetrators(s) could have touched her.
Richard and Selma Eikelenboom: Importance of innocence projects

Posted By IFS

The amount of cases in which DNA proved that people were convicted innocent is increasing every year. It is clear that innocence projects are of great importance. Of course a number of people claim to be innocent while they are guilty. Innocence projects can sort out wether or not convicted persons should get a new trial because of reasonable doubt about their quilt. Most of the the time there is no or very little money available for good investigations. For this reason IFS helps reviewing cases. If we are convinced that someone could be innocent we will write an Affidavit about possible DNA investigations. Important note: We get a lot of requests for help, but we are not lawyers. There is no way we can perform DNA investigations without consent from a judge. Because of this reason people who claim to be innocent should request help from the innocence projects in the state or country in which they are convicted and incarcerated.

There are several innocence projects which deal with cases in their own state or country. We work with several of them.

In Denver

In Illinois

in the UK

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