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DNA TRACES TIE PARKER TO OFFICER'S KILLING, JURY TOLD

Jonathan "Face" Parker was the likely source of the DNA evidence found on a leather jacket and baseball cap linked to the shooting death of Buffalo Police Officer Charles "Skip" McDougald, the jury at Parker's death-penalty trial learned Thursday.

Dr. John P. Simich, the head of Erie County Central Police Services lab's blood-evidence and DNA units, who tested samples of Parker's DNA, told the jury that Parker could not be excluded as a possible source of the DNA on the jacket and cap.

Pressed by prosecutor Joseph J. Marusak, Simich told the jury there is only one chance in 44,810 that another black American could have left the "predominant DNA" he found on those two items.

Simich, who will return to the stand today when a 12th day of testimony gets under way before Erie County Judge Michael L. D'Amico and the jury, conceded that his testing uncovered some DNA markings on both the jacket and cap that did not belong to Parker.

Parker's attorneys John V. Elmore and James P. Harrington are expected to begin cross-examining Simich today.

Earlier Thursday, the jury learned that nine hours after the shooting, police found both the cap and jacket -- the latter containing Parker's telephone pager and his county probation officer's business card -- in a back yard in the 100 block of Urban Street.

Parker, 20, has been in custody since he surrendered two days after the killing. He is serving a 15-year prison term on unrelated weapon cases. He faces a possible death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder.

He went on trial nearly three weeks ago in the fatal shooting of McDougald, 36, and the shooting of his partner, now-Detective Michael Martinez, 30, in the 800 block of Northampton Street at about 12:50 a.m. April 9, 1997.

McDougald, the father of four who also worked as a substitute teacher in Buffalo, was the first city police officer killed on duty in almost three decades. Parker is the first Western New York suspect facing a possible death sentence in nearly four decades.

Earlier Thursday, Dr. Simich's boss, Michael B. Dujanovich, director of the County Crime Lab, told the jury McDougald was killed by a hollow-point bullet fired from the Austrian-made 9 mm semiautomatic pistol police also found discarded on Urban Street.

Dujanovich, a firearms expert, said tests he conducted in January confirmed that McDougald was struck in his right upper chest by a bullet fired from that gun.

Dujanovich said he test fired that Glock 17 pistol and the identical Glock 17 pistols both McDougald and Martinez fired at the murder scene and confirmed that the fatal bullet did not come from either police weapon.

Dujanovich told the jury that based on the lack of what he called "close-range discharge," powder-burn evidence around the small circular bullet hole in the front of McDougald's police shirt, he determined the killer stood at least 8 feet away from the mortally injured officer.

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