June 16, 2003, prnewswire, Orchid Cellmark Donates Testing Services in Recognition of Three Men Freed Using Its DNA Testing,
- Donates a Package of Pro Bono Services to the `Innocence Project'
- PRINCETON, N.J., June 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Orchid BioSciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: ORCH) today announced that its Orchid Cellmark unit, a leader in private forensic DNA testing, is donating a package of forensic DNA tests to the Innocence Project in recognition of three men freed last week by DNA testing conducted in its Germantown laboratories.
The DNA testing was conducted by Orchid Cellmark on behalf of the Innocence Project at the Cardozo Law School, which participated in the effort to re-open the case and obtain more up-to-date DNA testing. Dennis Halstead, John Kogut and John Restivo had been convicted of rape and murder on Long Island 18 years ago. The men were freed after a series of new tests confirmed that critical DNA evidence recovered from the victim did not belong to any of the three convicted men.
"It is a tribute to scientific advances at laboratories such as Orchid Cellmark that newly informative results can now be obtained from DNA samples almost two decades old," said Peter Neufeld, co-founder of the Innocence Project. "We thank Orchid for their generous donation of additional DNA tests so we can continue helping people who may have been wrongly convicted of crimes."
Orchid Cellmark has analyzed DNA for other high-profile criminal cases, including the case of four men freed earlier this year who had been wrongfully convicted of the 1986 murder of Lori Roscetti in Chicago, and that of David Westerfield recently convicted of the murder of young Danielle Van Dam in San Diego.
"Our DNA forensic testing brings science and objectivity to a criminal justice system where other forms of evidence may be less reliable," said Mark Stolorow, executive director of Orchid Cellmark. "The availability of advanced DNA testing methods has helped free wrongfully convicted individuals while also ensuring that many who commit serious crimes wind up behind bars.
We are pleased to be able to contribute to these advances which are helping to strengthen our criminal justice system and also to help families in other circumstances, such as our work with the New York Medical Examiner's Office to help identify victims of the 9/11 World Trade Center attack."
Since 1987, Orchid Cellmark has been a pioneer in the development of forensic DNA testing. This year the company launched "DNA Express Service," a premium service to help local law enforcement agencies analyze backlogs of DNA evidence from unsolved crimes. DNA Express provides forensic DNA analyses in five business days as opposed to the standard four to five weeks.
About Orchid Cellmark
Orchid Cellmark, the forensic strategic business unit of Orchid BioSciences, Inc., is a leader in private forensic DNA analysis. Orchid Cellmark has an international network of four forensic testing laboratories in the U.S. and U.K., making it the largest private DNA forensic testing service provider in the world. Orchid Cellmark provides a full range of high quality, customized forensic DNA testing services, including identification of victims of accidents and disasters, criminal casework analysis and expert testimony, convicted offender DNA databasing, no-suspect casework for government law enforcement laboratories, and DNA testing and consultative services for the defense bar as well as for the prosecution. Orchid Cellmark, which has conducted DNA testing for many notable forensic investigations, uses a variety of genetic analysis methods for its forensic DNA studies and is a leader in developing improved technologies for genetic analysis. More information on Orchid Cellmark can be found at http://www.orchidcellmark.com.
About the Innocence Project
The Innocence Project provides pro bono legal assistance to inmates who are challenging their convictions based on DNA testing of evidence, though clients must obtain funding for testing. Founded in 1992 by Barry Scheck, Professor of Law, and Peter Neufeld, Esq., the Project has represented or assisted in more than 100 cases where convictions have been reversed or overturned in the United States. More information on the Innocence Project can be found at http://www.cardozo.yu.edu/innocence_project.
About Orchid BioSciences
Orchid BioSciences is the leading provider of services and products for profiling genetic uniqueness. Orchid's interlocking strategic business units address distinctive markets that together represent a unique balance of established, predictable growth, such as forensic and paternity DNA testing, and large upside potential, like pharmacogenetics-based personalized healthcare. All leverage Orchid's network of accredited genotyping laboratories, its leading technologies and its expertise in genetic analysis. Orchid provides identity genomics testing for forensics and paternity through Orchid Cellmark and Orchid GeneScreen, and also provides public health genotyping services. Orchid GeneShield is developing pharmacogenetics-based programs designed to accelerate the adoption of personalized healthcare. More information on Orchid can be found at http://www.orchid.com.
SOURCE Orchid BioSciences, Inc.
Tracy J. Henrikson, Director, Corporate
Communications, Orchid BioSciences, +1-609-750-2221