The jury heard from forensic science experts on Thurs.
Frederick, Md (KM) The jury in the trial of Lloyd Harris, 53, heard testimony on Thursday from forensic scientists. Harris is on trial for the rape and murder of Stacy Lynn Hoffmaster, 15. She was reported missing in October, 1996. Her body was found in December of that year in a wooded area off of East South Street near I-70.
State’s Attorney Charlie Smith says Mary Dawson, who worked for the Maryland State Police Crime Lab, took the stand. “She did the initial serology. She did some presumptive tests on the items from the victim at the scene to determine if bodily fluids were present. And, of course, the vaginal swabs that were taken by the Medical Examiner tested positive for semen. Serology is basically testing whether certain fluids are present,” he says.
In addition Bruce Heidebrick, testified He was the DNA supervisor at the Maryland State Police Lab, and was an analyst in 1997. “He did locate some sperm and other DNA not belonging to the victim on the vaginal swab. He was able to exclude several suspects, but not able to exclude the defendant. He wasn’t able to say it was the defendant, but he could not exclude the defendant as the contributor of that material on the vaginal swab,” Smith says.
But a representative from a firm which conducted a more discriminating DNA analysis on the material found on the vaginal swab spoke during the trial. “He was able to exclude an additional suspect. But he was also able to determine the mixture on the swab was most likely two people. and those two profiles matched Stacy Hoffmaster and the defendant,” says Smith.
He says this evidence proves Harris raped Hoffmaster, and probably killed her. “Obviously, we believe the sexual assault and the murder took place at the same time. She was more or less hog tied, and she was in various state of undress. So we believe the sex offense coincided with the murder,” Smith says.
He says the State is expected to wrap up its case on Friday. Then the defense will present its case on Monday.
Harris is charged with 1st-degree murder, 1st-degree rape and 3rd-degree sex offense.
By Kevin McManus