DNA Clears Man, Convicts Brother
A man was found guilty Friday in a rape for which his brother spent 19 years in prison before he was freed by the same DNA technology that implicated his sibling.
Marlo Charles’ trial included reluctant testimony from his brother, Clyde, 49, who was released three years ago after a lengthy court battle for the right to DNA testing that was not available at his own trial.
Marlo Charles, 46, faces life in prison for the 1981 rape of a 26-year-old nurse in a clover field in rural Terrebonne Parish.
After the verdict, the victim smiled and her mother wept. Members of Charles’ family were not in the courtroom.
Prosecutor Mark Rhodes said he took satisfaction not only in the conviction but also in helping free the sibling.
“I’m very satisfied that the perpetrator of this crime is going to be punished,” Rhodes said. “I think it sets both things right.”
Defense attorney Robert Jenkins said he believed Marlo Charles’ fate was determined when the judge allowed the prosecution to bring up a Virginia rape allegation against his client that was never prosecuted.
In his closing argument, Rhodes acknowledged he could not explain why Clyde Charles was wearing clothes described by the victim or why a blond hair matching the victim’s was found on the clothing when he was arrested.
Jenkins, meanwhile, attacked the credibility of detectives who claimed Marlo Charles confessed and questioned the prosecution’s interpretation of the DNA evidence.
“Don’t let them confuse you about ‘It’s a match,’ ” Jenkins told jurors. “All it is is a statistic of frequency.”
During his testimony, Clyde Charles acknowledged that more than 20 years ago his lawyer raised the possibility in court that it was really his younger brother who was the rapist. But Charles told the court he could not account for his lawyer’s tactics.
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