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Brooklyn, NY - Defense To Challenge DNA Evidence In Williamsburg Beating Trial

Published on: September 10, 2016 11:13 PM
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Brooklyn, NY - The defense attorney in the trial on a gang assault of a black man in Williamsburg plans to challenge a key point in the prosecution’s case when the trial resumes Monday morning: DNA evidence that allegedly links his client to the victim.

As previously reported on VIN News(http://bit.ly/2czZeXr), Mayer Herskovic refused a plea bargain that would include an admission of guilt in the 2013 beating of Taj Patterson, electing instead to take his chances with a non-jury trial.

Troy Holder, a DNA expert called by the prosecution, testified that a minute amount of Herskovic’s DNA was found on the back of Patterson’s sneaker, which was found on the roof of a nearby one story building.  Patterson, who was blinded in one eye during the attack, testified that the same man who threw his shoe on the roof also jammed his thumb into his right eye, reported the Daily News.

Holder said that 97.9 picograms was found on the shoe, less than the recommended amount of 500 picograms typically used in DNA testing, but still a workable sample.  A picogram is just one trillionth of a gram.

“You can use a range under 500 to 100,” said Holder.

Defense attorney Israel Fried challenged Holder’s testimony and after the prosecution rested its case on Wednesday, told Judge Danny Chun that he wanted to call an expert of its own.  Chun initially denied the request, a decision that he reversed on Thursday.


“DNA is a crucial aspect that the people (prosecutors) are relying on,” said Chun.  “Actually, crucial is an understatement.  It’s extremely critical.”

Chun called for the trail to be adjourned until Monday, giving both the prosecution and the defense time to prepare for new testimony by the as yet unnamed DNA expert.

Two witnesses for the defense testified that they saw Patterson being beaten by a group of Chasidic looking men and witnessed his shoe being thrown onto the roof. 

While MTA bus driver Evelyn Keys described the attackers as men with payos, wearing black suits and white shirts, with some wearing navy blue jackets with lettered backs, a second witness said it was difficult to identify any one individual in the crowd.

“Everyone was looking exactly the same,” recalled Jose Guzman.

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