The cold case murder of a teenage girl was back in court today for day three of the preliminary hearing. Often when there’s a break in a cold case it comes from the crime lab, and a DNA hit is the hard scientific evidence in this case.
For many, DNA evidence is viewed as concrete. The smoking gun. So if the defense wants this case thrown out, they’ll have to convince the judge otherwise.
If this case goes to trial, it really boils down to this: Was Prentice Foreman’s DNA at the crime scene because he raped and murdered Dawn Koons? Or was it there because the two had consensual sex?
Dawn Koons was just 18-years-old when she was found strangled, nude, and bound in her bathtub in 1979.
The prosecution asserts a then much younger Prentice Foreman who lived in Koons apartment complex was borderline stalking her before he killed her.
But the defense has a different idea. They’ve already tried to establish that Foreman and Koons had a consensual sexual encounter, providing an explanation for why his DNA was found.
But the big issue for the defense? They say that encounter took place months before the murder-and the crime lab techs say the DNA, matching to Foreman, was deposited most likely around 12 hours before Koons’ death.
The defense questioned if there could be someone else’s DNA recovered from the scene other than Foreman’s and the victim’s, but the lab’s DNA lead technician said he doesn’t believe so.
We also learned in court today that the DNA sample that led to a hit in this case was developed from technology the crime lab got last year. Coincidentally, 17 News first reported on this last year, specifically focusing on the possibility that the technology could help solve cold cases.
A few things to keep in mind: The point of this hearing is for a judge to decide if there’s enough evidence against Foreman for the case to go to trial. But the judge only has to decide that it’s more likely than not that he’s guilty. This is much lower burden of proof than we see in trial.
So far we’ve only heard from the prosecution’s witnesses. Today the judge postponed the remainder of the hearing, so we won’t hear from any defense witnesses-if there are any-until April 9.