Tulsa Police’s DNA lab, tying criminals to crime scenes with scientific proof

Tuesday, February 28th 2006, 6:44 pm
By: News On 6

News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright received a letter from Gary Graham Tuesday, which repeats what he told the News on 6, in an interview Monday night, that he denies being the serial rapist.

Gary Graham, of course, is the prime suspect in the serial rapist case. He especially disputes the DNA evidence that Tulsa Police say ties him to eight different sexual assaults in the past few years.

Tuesday afternoon, Lori Fullbright talked to the scientist who does DNA analysis for the Tulsa Police Department.

Gary Graham freely admits he refused to give his DNA to Tulsa Police when they first asked for it a couple of weeks ago. He says he believes in the fourth amendment against unreasonable search and seizure. "Why give it up if you're not guilty? Of course, the flip side is, obviously he's hiding something, but, that's not how I feel."

Graham says he doesn't believe his DNA was a match for the DNA found at eight sexual assault scenes, he believes police are setting him up. "Fascinating my DNA came back. The swab was taken Monday evening and they had my DNA back by Wednesday. I've never heard of any coming back that fast."

Tulsa forensic scientist Dr. Valerie Fuller is the DNA analyst at the Tulsa Police lab.

She says DNA can take anywhere from one day to weeks to run, depending on the caseload, backlog and whether a case is a priority. She says if you drop everything and work straight through, you can test and analyze a sample of DNA in about 20 hours. "I've been here nearly nine years and done that eight or nine times where I drop everything, where a case is high profile and where you need the information."

She says those high priority cases are often when the results can exonerate someone and there's a need to know that as soon as possible, because perhaps the person is in jail.

Dr. Valerie Fuller says she has no personal stake in how any of the tests turn out. "I have to be objective. That's why I think it's important I'm a civilian, non-sworn scientist. I do have one point to make, that I have to prove my objectivity at all times and keep transparent records and everything I do is public record."

Dr. Valerie Fuller will be the one to testify about her findings in this case and how she got them, when it goes to trial.

Graham did bring up an Oklahoma City case from a few years ago where a chemist falsified lab results and sent people to prison. He believes the same thing could happen here. Tulsa's lab has recently been nationally accredited.

Doctor Fuller walked the News on 6 through the entire process she goes through for each DNA sample. To see a video clip explaining that process CLICK HERE.