DNA experts testify in second day of the 1999 Sarasota cold case murder trial

DNA Center of Attention in Cold Case Trial

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Jurors in Sarasota County are listening to a first of its kind case involving DNA and a more than two-decade old cold case.

Luke Fleming is charged in the murder and sexual battery of Deborah Dalzell.

For years Deborah Dalzell’s 1999 murder was a mystery. No one knew who or why she was raped and murdered in her Sarasota County home.

In 2018, Luke Fleming was arrested after his DNA was linked to the case. In court FDLE crime analyst Mary Pacheco said she tested the evidence.

“For the DNA profile from the right thigh of Deborah Dalzell.. It’s greater than 700 billion times more likely to occur than if that DNA profile originated from Mr. Fleming than if it originated from an unrelated individual,” said FDLE senior crime analyst, Mary Pacheco.

And Flemings defense attorney had questions for Pacheco in regards to the decades old semen evidence.

“You said that there were two tubes in the package. Which you received... Correct? Correct. And there was no liquid in the tubes? That’s correct,” said criminal attorney Anne Borghetti.

Another analyst later testified that they dry out some liquid evidence to better preserve evidence that’s kept for a long time. That same analyst from a private lab tested the shirt that was found wrapped around Dalzell’s neck.

“Luke Fleming cannot be excluded as a contributor to this major Y DNA profile nor can any of his paternal relatives because again we’re dealing with male DNA which is passed down from a father to a son,” said DNA Labs International DNA analyst, Alicia Cadenas.

Prosecutors haven’t made mention yet to the jury as to why law enforcement suspected Fleming and got a DNA swab from his son.... Something detectives said in 2018 was because of new DNA technology and ancestry pages.

The trial is set to continue Thursday morning beginning at 8:45 a.m.