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DA declines prosecution of murder suspect after DNA mix up

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Posted at 4:39 PM, Jun 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-08 17:39:22-04

NEW IBERIA, La. — The 16th Judicial District Attorney's Office announced on Monday that it has declined to prosecute an Iberia Parish man in connection with the homicide of Howard Poche in 2016.

Roy Verret faced a charge of first-degree murder in the 2016 slaying of Howard Poche, 75, who was reported missing on Christmas and was found dead three days later, stuffed inside a garbage can on his back porch. His home and yard had been searched repeatedly by police before the body was found.

According to a release from the DA's office, the move to drop the prosecution comes as a result of being notified of a probability that two samples may have been inadvertently switched during the DNA extraction process on two critical items of evidence.

During a hearing last week, the DNA evidence that prosecutors believe merits a death sentence for Verret was cast into grave doubt. Forensic science experts testified that the Acadiana Crime Lab almost certainly mixed up DNA samples from the homes of Poche and Verret - the murder victim and his alleged killer.

The DA's office states that it received notification on June 5 along with the test results from an independent laboratory and a DNA consultant.

The DA's office says that before June 5 it relied on the reports from the Acadiana Crime Lab regarding the DNA analysis on evidence items submitted for forensic analysis in the case.

The DA's office adds that it continues to proesecute the other defendants involved in the murder of Poche and charges against Verret may be brought back if credible evidence is found that shows he was involved in the crime.

According to court records, First Assistant District Attorney Robert Vines filed a motion to drop its case on June 8.

You can see the full release and court order from the DA's office on Verret's case below.

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