DNA points to possibility of third person at crime scene
MONTEGO BAY, St James – DNA results have failed to conclusively link Gregory Roberts, the man charged with the murder of 15-year-old Shineka Gray, to the scene of the crime. While his co-accused Mario Morrison has been implicated, the DNA results also suggest the possible presence of a third attacker.
The revelations came in the St James Circuit Court on Monday during DNA analysis presented by chief forensic officer for the DNA unit of the Institute of Forensic Science and Legal Medicine Dr Crystal Beepot.
From the inception of the case, Roberts had maintained his innocence and instead pointed the finger at Morrison.
Morrison pleaded guilty in September 2022, after entering a plea deal with the State, and was sentenced to life in prison a month later.
On Monday Dr Beepot, who was called to the stand via remote link by Roberts’s lawyer Leroy Equiano, said analysis was done on blood, mucus, vaginal and anal swabs taken from Gray’s body. Analysis was also done on hair samples, a condom found at the crime scene in Irwin, St James, and Gray’s phone.
“Hair taken from the condom allegedly taken from the scene of crime revealed DNA results for autosomal analysis, which is the analysis that targets the total human DNA consistent with a mixture of at least three individuals. The accused Mario Morrison cannot be excluded as being a major contributor to the DNA present on the hair taken from the condom. The deceased Shineka Gray cannot be excluded as a minor contributor to the mix of DNA obtained from the hair. A third contributor is an unknown individual. The accused Gregory Roberts has been excluded as being a contributor to this mix of DNA that was obtained from the hair taken from the condom,” stated Dr Beepot.
She also outlined scientific evidence which established that “the accused Mario Morrison cannot be excluded as being the source of the male DNA” found at the scene.
A swab of the gold-coloured Blu cellular phone belonging to Gray also yielded a mixture of DNA of at least three individuals. The expert told the court they could not rule out Gray and Morrison but the results for Roberts were “inconclusive”.
Analysis of a condom allegedly taken from the crime scene gave readings for two individuals. Beepot testified that it was established that Morrison could not be “excluded as being a contributor to this mix of DNA”. However, “due to the limited number of components from a second contributor, a determination of the second contributor could not be made”.
The expert also told the court that an analysis of vaginal and anal swabs from Gray produced no results.
On December 7, the then crime officer for St James, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Wayne Josephs, told the court that Roberts claimed in a caution statement to the police that he was not present when the teen was stabbed to death by co-accused Morrison. The cop also testified that Roberts said while Morrison had sex with the girl, who did not appear to object, he himself did not have sex with her. Roberts also claimed that he walked away while Gray and Morrison were engaged in intercourse and when he returned the young girl was dead.
“I was not there when the girl died. I said, ‘My yute, a dem ting deh you ah gwaan wid, dawg?’ And him say, ‘The girl dis mi dawg’,” said SSP Josephs in relaying Roberts’ statement.
Gray, who was a grade 10 student, was found dead three days after being reported missing. She was last seen alive in Montego Bay while on her way home from the funeral of a schoolmate.
Roberts and Morrison were later taken into custody in connection with the killing.
Dr Beepot is the second of four witnesses to testify for the defence to date. The case continues on Tuesday.