Rape trial continues, additional witnesses testify

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 31, 2007

LINDEN &045; In the ongoing case against former Demopolis police officer Terrence Lavell Smith, in which Smith was charged with rape in the second degree of a 13-year-old female, forensic officials testified DNA was matched positively with the alleged victim, but the results were inconclusive when compared with Smith’s DNA.

According to Debbie Dodd, a case analyst for the Alabama Department of Forensic Science, her examination of the evidence provided by the Marengo County Sheriff’s Department found at least one item contained a quarter-sized spot, which tested positive for semen. Dodd further analyzed the swatch of fabric, which was collected from the front car seat of Smith’s truck, using a procedure called differential extraction, which separates genetic material from the fibers of the material, and concluded there was DNA from both a female and a male in the mixture.

Upon comparing the female portion of the sample to a blood sample provided by the victim, the DNA was found to be a positive match to her genetic profile. When the male portion of the sample was compared to the blood sample provided by Smith, it could not be determined it was a positive match for Smith’s genetic profile.

Email newsletter signup

Previously in the case, it was determined Smith had a vasectomy performed in 2003, which medically prevented him from producing sperm. Dodd also explained the sample, although it contained male traits, did not have any sperm present, which is consistent with a person who either had a vasectomy or another condition which biologically did not allow a male to produce sperm.

Under cross examination, defense attorney Jim Parkman asked Dodd whether or not she further analyzed the sample to find conclusively if the DNA could be linked to Smith. Dodd said there is a test called a Y-STR test, which can be used to determine male specific DNA traits, but there is no laboratory in Alabama has the capability to perform that test. She also said she preserved a portion of the sample if there was a need to do the test at a future date.

Parkman also asked why analysis was not done on fibers collected from a forensic vacuum of Smith’s truck, which were prepared by the FBI office in Mobile and transported by Chief Deputy Tommy Reese.

The victim, a 14-year-old female who was 13-years-old at the time of the alleged incidents, testified Tuesday to having sexual intercourse with Smith on at least three separate occasions &045; two of which she said occurred in Smith’s personal truck, and one of which occurred in an abandoned cell in the former Demopolis jail building next to the municipal court.

She also testified, in response to the District Attorney Greg Griggers’ questioning, that she was never forced to do anything or was never treated in a violent manner.

The case came to public view when a friend of the victim’s told school authorities, particularly Demopolis Middle School Principal Clarence Jackson, about the victim’s relationship with the officer.

The investigation was turned over to the Marengo County Sheriff’s Department once it was determined the case involved a Demopolis police officer. According to Reese, who was the lead investigator in the case, the sheriff’s department was given a report from the Department of Human Resources and requested to handle the case.

Smith was relieved of his duties at the department after his arrest on Dec. 19.

In Alabama, rape II is defined as sexual interaction with a minor between the ages of 13 and 16 by someone over the age of 16 with at least two years between the parties. The class B felony can carry a sentence of two to 20 years of prison time for each count.