Judge OKs DNA results for trial use

November 15, 1994|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Sun Staff Writer

An Anne Arundel County judge ruled yesterday that DNA evidence may be used against Scotland E. Williams, the man charged with killing two Arnold lawyers last May.

The evidence comes from microscopic cells scraped from a drinking glass found in the victims' kitchen. According to the tests, the cells are from Mr. Williams' mouth, prosecutors say.

Judge Eugene M. Lerner rejected arguments by Mr. Williams' lawyers that the tests took too long and that the results were too unreliable to be used as evidence.

Craig Gendler, one of Mr. Williams' three court-appointed lawyers, said 18 weeks was too long to wait for test results.

"That's an excessive, inordinate delay in our view," he told Judge Lerner.

The judge agreed with State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee, who argued that the delay was not excessive.

"We acted as quickly as we could," said Mr. Weathersbee, pointing out that the police department's only DNA expert, Dr. William Vosburgh, a serologist, had to analyze 93 items taken from the victim's home and decide which ones to send to the Cellmark Diagnostic Laboratories in Germantown.

He said Dr. Vosburgh also was busy analyzing evidence for other cases. The Williams case is the doctor's 40th this year.

Mr. Williams, 31, of the 800 block of Bradford Ave. in Arnold, has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Jose E. Trias, 49, and his wife, Julie Noel Gilbert, 48. If convicted, Mr. Williams could be sentenced to die in the gas chamber.

The victims were found shot to death May 16 in the bedroom of their weekend home at Winchester on the Severn.

Mr. Williams was charged May 19 after he was allegedly videotaped using Mr. Trias' bank card at two Glen Burnie banks. Police say one of their detectives also recognized Mr. Williams from an earlier burglary case in Severna Park.

Yesterday, Linda Ostovitz, one of Mr. Williams' co-counsels, told Judge Lerner the defense needed more time to prepare its case and asked him to reschedule the trial, which had been scheduled for Nov. 30. As part of that request, Mr. Williams waived his right to be tried within 180 days of his indictment.

Mr. Williams' trial is now scheduled for Feb. 6, 1995.

The defense will use the additional time to line up experts to challenge the way police gathered and analyzed the DNA evidence, said Michele Nethercott, another of Mr. Williams' lawyers.

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