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FBI Expert: Muhammad's DNA Found on Rifle

By STEPHEN MANNING
The Associated Press
Friday, May 19, 2006; 1:13 AM

ROCKVILLE, Md. -- John Allen Muhammad's DNA matched samples taken from the sight for a Bushmaster rifle used in the 2002 sniper killings, an FBI forensics expert testified Thursday.

The sight, which is used to find and aim at a target, was in a duffel bag in Muhammad's Chevrolet Caprice when he and Lee Boyd Malvo were arrested Oct. 24, 2002, said Brendan Shea, DNA inspector for the FBI.

Muhammad's DNA also was a potential match for some of the genetic material found on the butt of the Bushmaster rifle stock, as well as a pen and a bag of raisins from two different shooting scenes. Malvo's DNA was recovered from several spots on the gun.

The testimony came as prosecutors began building their scientific case against Muhammad for six Maryland sniper killings in October 2002. Jurors have already heard details about the six shootings, along with four other sniper deaths and three woundings in the Washington area during the three-week sniper spree.

Muhammad, who is acting as his own lawyer, implied the samples Shea used for the DNA tests were not his. He said authorities did not "take away" samples from Muhammad and Malvo until several weeks after Shea said he conducted his comparisons.

"Isn't it true that if you did not have my DNA on that day, you could not have tested it?" Muhammad asked. Shea said the sample he had was labeled as Muhammad's.

Muhammad already has been convicted and sentenced to death in Virginia for his role in the sniper spree in the Washington area. His current trial is for the six killings that occurred in Maryland.

Malvo is serving a life term for another Virginia sniper killing and is charged with the same six Maryland killings, but will likely plead guilty and testify against Muhammad.

The pair also are suspected of earlier shootings in Maryland, Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana and Washington state.

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Associated Press Writer Matthew Barakat contributed to this report.

© 2006 The Associated Press