Long Waits for DNA Results Pay Off

FORT PAYNE, Ala. (WHNT) — The Dekalb County Sheriff said he is thrilled at how quickly his investigators received the results of DNA testing in a burglary case.

Quickly still meant three months.

Deputies got a major piece of evidence after a February break-in at the Fyffe Pharmacy.

“We found a partial fingertip.  A small fingertip,” Sheriff Jimmy Harris said.

He knew DNA would be a long wait because of a backlog at the forensics department.

“It normally takes so long on DNA to get it to the state and get it back because of budget cuts and this and that.  We talked to them about how we’ve had so many pharmacies broken into, we need this.  So they put a rush on it for us,” Harris said.

They expected DNA to match one of the men arrested in March for burglaries at other dekalb county pharmacies, but DNA identified 33-year-old Carson Conrad Weldon.

“I think they swab everybody now that goes to prison,” Harris said.

“We have had him in our jail.  We have sent him to prison before, and we’re just glad to be able to make an arrest on this case at this time.  This broke our case for us because this guy was not on the radar at that time.  This had nothing to do with the others,” he said.

Harris said he felt fortunate to close the case in just three months.

“You see it on CSI and they solve one in an hour and you know you can’t get it back like that.  Everybody thinks that that happens but it don’t happen,” the sheriff said.

Marshall County District Attorney Steve Marshall is used to even longer waits for DNA.

“We recently had a murder case where we waited almost two years to get,” Marshall said.

Wesley Burgess is scheduled for a competency hearing in June so a judge can set a date for his trial.  He is accused in the 2009 murder of Ricky Moody near Guntersville  Deputies arrested Burgess in 2010, and finally got the DNA results they were hoping for in 2011.

Another murder suspect, Larry Reginald Beason, will also appear in Marshall County court in June.  It took nearly nine months for prosecutors to get DNA results to confirm Beason as the suspect in June 2012 murder of Ansheka Radford in Albertville.

“The best time for us to prosecute a case is right after it happened and any delay simply serves to hamper prosecution, not to help it,” district attorney Marshall said.

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