Prosecutors want DNA testing in 2005 beating case

District prosecutors want new DNA testing before they determine whether to retry a man whose conviction in a downtown vendor’s 2005 beating and robbery was overturned earlier this month.

Details of the DNA tests ordered by prosecutors were not publicly discussed during a Thursday D.C. Superior Court hearing in the case of James Dorsey.

“The results from the testing will have a lot of weight in our decision about what to do from here,” said Assistant U.S. attorney Jonathan Kravis.

Dorsey was convicted in the attack on an 83-year-old woman known as “Grandma, ” who sold hats, umbrellas and T-shirts from a vending table outside the Foggy Bottom Metro station.

He was arrested days after the May attack. A District jury found him guilty of aggravated assault while armed and armed robbery of senior citizen, and he was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

The D.C. Court of Appeals ruledthat detectives violated Dorsey’s rights when they arrested him, handcuffed him to a chair for 13 hours and repeatedly questioned him after Dorsey said that he didn’t want to talk and requested an attorney.

Dorsey was not present at Thursday’s hearing. Prosecutors said they would attempt to have him moved from the West Virginia prison where he is currently incarcerted to D.C. jail in time for a hearing scheduled for April 12.

Dorsey, now 54, has a record that dates to 1979, with at least 30 arrests and 10 convictions for assault with a dangerous weapon, burglary, grand larceny and other crimes.

Keith Alexander covers crime, specifically D.C. Superior Court cases for The Washington Post. He has covered dozens of crime stories from Banita Jacks, the Washington woman charged with killing her four daughters, to the murder trial of slain federal intern Chandra Levy.
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