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Steven Petric Steven Petric was convicted of murder made capital because it was committed during a rape in the first degree, March 9, 1990, the victim, Toni Lim, was found dead on her bed in the apartment she shared with Martha Milinda Higginbotham.
The apartment was located in Homewood, a suburb of Birmingham.
After Dodd had finished testifying, at the request of defense counsel, the defense and the prosecution agreed to admit into evidence a laboratory report prepared by a DNA expert for the defense. 1279–82, 1296–97.) The report was marked as both a State's exhibit and a defendant's exhibit. 532.) The results of that report did not contradict the results of Dodd's testing. 537–38.) The defense expert also concluded that Petric's DNA was present in stains on a blanket recovered from the crime scene. 537.) Additionally, the laboratory report prepared by the expert for the defense stated that “[t]he DNA profile obtained from the swab taken from the right hand fingernail clippings is a mixture” and that “Steven Petric is included in this mixture.” (C.
Both Dodd and the expert for the defense concluded that the DNA profile of the semen donor on the vaginal swab of Lim's body matched Petric's DNA profile. 538.) At trial, the State presented evidence of other bad acts of Petric.
In 2004, additional DNA testing using more modern techniques revealed that the DNA profile from the semen found in Lim's body matched the DNA profile found on some of the cigarette butts that were in Lim's bedroom on the day she was killed.
An exercise rope was tied tightly around Lim's right wrist, and the rope extended down to her ankles, which were tied together with the rope.
1123.) In 1990 and again in 1998, ABO blood testing and rudimentary DNA testing were performed on items recovered in and around Lim's body.
The results of that testing excluded several individuals as suspects, but the results did not match the DNA of any person of interest.
A wedding ring and a set of keys were missing from O'Rourke's apartment.
The keys were never recovered, but the ring was eventually found in Petric's possession. Joseph Sapala performed the autopsy on O'Rourke's body. Sapala testified that O'Rourke was found nude on her bed and that her head was covered with blood. Sapala further testified that O'Rourke had a gag in her mouth and a shirt tied tightly around her neck and head. Sapala also noted that O'Rourke had bruising around her wrists that could have been caused by being bound with ligatures or handcuffs. Sapala, O'Rourke died from strangulation and stab wounds to her neck.