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Archive for Wednesday, March 14, 2001

KBI volunteers to do DNA testing

Convicted murderer, unable to afford tests, wants evidence admitted

March 14, 2001

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— A state agency that once provided testimony against a man now serving a life sentence in the rape and murder of a pregnant woman has agreed to conduct the DNA testing he says would exonerate him.

On Monday, Shawnee County Dist. Atty. Robert Hecht said KBI Director Larry Welch volunteered the agency's services after reading a news story that said Adrian C. Washington, 44, could not afford the tests.

"(Welch) is like the rest of us. He doesn't want anybody incarcerated who shouldn't be," Hecht said.

"Law enforcement shouldn't be leery of this," Hecht added.

Washington was convicted of killing Cathy Cummings, 20, of Topeka, who was 26 weeks pregnant when she was sexually assaulted and stabbed 18 times in her home on June 17, 1979. Washington is serving a life sentence and two other sentences at Lansing Correctional Facility.

The case was reopened in October 1999 so blood-saturated evidence could be examined for DNA comparison.

Hecht said the KBI would conduct the testing as long as whatever DNA material is necessary for the testing must be made available something that could be a problem since Washington's family says the rape kit has not been found.

Hecht also said the testing would be done only if the results are placed in court files and made public, regardless of the outcome.

Washington, in a letter last month, said he wanted the DNA tests limited to the rape kit.

This is unacceptable because a killing could involve more than one attacker, Hecht said, and one may have not participated in the sexual attack or may have used a condom.

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