Lastrapes defense attorney says DNA evidence doesn't prove murder

Lastrapes defense attorney says DNA evidence doesn't prove murder
Roman Lastrapes (Source: Calcasieu Correctional Center)

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - DNA is a big part of the case against Roman Lastrapes, the man accused of First Degree Murder of Linda Moore January 15, 2010.

Lastrapes' attorney says the evidence the state is presenting, doesn't prove murder at all. Lastrapes was the second man arrested in connection with the murder of Moore. The first man was released because his DNA didn't match.

According to an expert from the crime lab, Lastrape's DNA is on the victim. But his attorney Richard White says that doesn't prove murder..

'My client's semen was found on and in the victim.  We concede that," said White.

Plus White says a third man may be involved.

Calcasieu Coroner Terry Welke testified the person whose DNA was there was likely also the one who brutally killed her.

Welke says her death was caused by blunt force injuries of the head--possibly with a fist or baseball bat.

But White says Lastrapes will take the stand in his own defense.

"At first he didn't even know what he was being questioned about.  I think he'll come across as very believable and look, he's putting himself at great risk by taking the stand, but he's going to do so," he said.

When Lastrapes was previously represented by another attorney he waived his right to a jury which White says he tried unsuccessfully to undo.

"We needed a jury in this case but the judge entertained certain pretrial motions. He decided that Mr. Lastrapes, my client, had waived his right to a jury, that that was irrevocable and that he would not change his order, so we find ourselves trying this case to a judge and not a jury," said White.

So, Judge Mike Canaday will decide whether Lastrapes is guilty.

As part of the state's case the judge was shown graphic photos of Moore, whose body was positioned to suggest she had been sexually assaulted.

Prosecutors say they will refrain from doing interviews until the trial is over.

The state resumes its side first thing tomorrow with Detective Franklin Fondel.

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