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Green River Killer Convicted In 2003 on DNA Evidence

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 3:29 PM
Monday, July 23, 2012

In 2001, based in large part on DNA evidence, the King County Prosecuting Attorney charged the defendant Gary Leon Ridgway with four of the Green River murders over the course of the next few years Gary Ridgway was convicted of over 60 murders.

Over the years use of DNA to break the case was attempted. In 1988, detectives sent evidence associated with several victims to a laboratory for DNA typing; however, based upon the existing technologies, no DNA profiles could be obtained.

In 2001, Detective Jensen the sole remaining detective on the case, hoping to take advantage of recent developments in DNA typing, sent biological evidence from several victims to the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory (WSPCL) for DNA typing.  Using what were at the time new modes of DNA analysis called the polymerase chain reaction (P.C.R.) test and the short tandem repeat (S.T.R.) test.  Which allow scientists to sequence and copy very short fragments of DNA taken from crime scenes.  A profile was developed: it matched Gary Leon Ridgway.  WSPCL Forensic Scientist compared this Profile against vaginal swabs from victim. This DNA comparison linked Ridgway to only one dump-site and one lone victim.

The evidence used in 2001 had been collected on April 8, 1987, as the result of a warrant on Ridgway’s residence, his work locker, and several vehicles. Detectives seized hundreds of items of evidence, such as carpet fibers, ropes, paint samples and plastic tarps.  None of the evidence collected at that time linked Ridgway with any particular scene or victim. However, one item of evidence seized would prove to be significant: a saliva sample taken from Ridgway during the execution of the warrant.

On June 13, 2003, the King County Prosecuting Attorney and Ridgway entered into an agreement where, in exchange for avoiding the possibility of execution, Ridgway agreed to provide complete, truthful, and candid information concerning his crimes in King County and answer all questions during interviews conducted by the police or the Prosecuting Attorney.

In June, 2003, and continuing over the next five months, the Task Force interviewed Ridgway extensively. Detectives confronted him with all of the Green River murders and similar unsolved homicides. In all, Ridgway claimed that he killed over sixty (60) women in King County.

Gary Ridgway Incarcerated at Washington Sate Penitentiary in Walla Walla, Washington.

For More information see:Link to Prosecutor’s Summary of the Evidence


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