This criminal case highlights why absence of detectable forensic evidence at an alleged crime scene is not proof of innocence.
A jury believed that Shushawna Barracks tried to help her live-in boyfriend cover up a rape he is accused of committing, and yesterday found her guilty of evidence tampering. [...]
During the three-day trial, police testified that, on Jan. 9, Barracks locked herself inside her Nissan Murano in the parking lot of The Journal News in Harrison, where she worked as a part-time telemarketer. She then dumped laundry detergent all over the seats and yelled into her cell phone, "I'm doing it now! I'm getting everything!"
I hope that this tampering conviction is admissible evidence in the rape trial of her boyfriend, Tyrone Haywood, so that jurors in his trial don't wrongly assume that the absence of DNA evidence in that car supports the defense's story of what did or did not happen.
In more rape cases rapists who are aware of the power of DNA evidence don't wait until after the crime to work to obscure forensic evidence.
Some of the most horrific parts of the 19 hour rape ordeal a grad student endured were done with the intent to destroy DNA evidence or to destroy this rape victim's eyesight so she could not identify him. He didn't succeed in destroying all the DNA evidence despite attempting to murder his victim and setting fire to his victim's apartment, but if he had the idea that his efforts would be rewarded with an acquittal should bother everyone.
Those who dismiss victim testimony even when it is credible as being insufficient to get a rape conviction lead rapists to believe that they can get an acquittal if they destroy enough physical evidence. For some of these rapists that means murdering their victims and destroying their victim's bodies.