NewsIberia Parish


UPDATE: Has DNA mix-up cast doubt on murder case?

Posted at 11:41 AM, Jun 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-07 12:41:43-04

A possible mix-up at the lab with DNA tests may have cast doubt on a capital murder case in Iberia Parish, our media parters at The Advocate report.

Roy Verret faces 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 The Advocate, no physical evidence ties Verret to Poche's home, but two witnesses suggested Verret’s involvement, though the statements were limited to hearsay. The dead man’s blood on Verret’s washing machine was the catalyst for Verret’s arrest, and the linchpin to a capital murder charge that has left him jailed awaiting trial for more than three years, the newspaper reports.

But at 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. They determined no human blood was found on Verret’s washing machine at all, The Advocate reports.

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