DNA expert approved for man charged in sexual assaults that began in Old Town Saginaw

DNA expert approved for man charged in sexual assaults that began in Old Town Saginaw

2014 Larry Currington Assault Case


http://www.mlive.com/news/saginaw/index.ssf/2015/02/man_charged_in_sexual_assaults.html#incart_related_stories

SAGINAW, MI — The man accused of sexual assaults that began in Saginaw’s Old Town district will have his own expert analyze DNA test results police say link him to one of the incidents.

Saginaw County Circuit Judge Janet M. Boes on Monday, Feb. 9, approved Larry D. Currington’s motion for a court-appointed DNA expert.

Boes approved Currington’s request, filed by his attorney Bruce Petrick, to appoint Julie A. Howenstine of East Lansing-based Speckin Forensic Laboratories to analyze both the collection and examination of DNA samples that police collected in connection with three summer 2014 incidents.

The county’s cost for Howenstine’s services will not exceed $4,500, the judge ruled. That number usually is limited to $1,500, but Petrick requested that amount for each of the three incidents in which Currington is charged.

Currington, 54, is charged with 16 felonies, including 10 that carry maximum penalties of life in prison, in connection with incidents that occurred on Aug. 19, Sept. 6, and Sept. 14 and began in the city’s Old Town district.

Larry D. Currington, 54, waits for the start of his preliminary hearing in front of Saginaw County District Judge M.T. Thompson on Oct. 13, 2014.

The three female victims in those cases testified at Currington’s October preliminary hearing and identified Currington as their attacker by pointing to his eyes, one of which is artificial. That testimony was bolstered by Michigan State Police crime lab experts matching Currington’s DNA to that of his saliva left on the second victim.

In his motion requesting Hownstine’s services, Petrick wrote she will, among other things, review the collection and chain of custody of DNA samples from all three incidents; analyze the testing conducted by crime lab personnel; “provide assistance in understanding the principles of DNA preservation, custody, testing, analysis, and results;” and testify as a defense witness.

Petrick on Monday declined further comment regarding the motion.

Currington’s trial currently is scheduled for Feb. 24 before Boes, but it’s likely Boes eventually will agree to postpone the trial to allow Howenstine time to conduct her analysis.

Currington is accused of kidnapping a 35-year-old woman in her employer’s parking lot near South Niagara on Aug. 19 and a 21-year-old woman in a parking lot at South Hamilton and Cass on Sept. 6, driving each of them to Wickes Park Drive near Fordney and the Rust Street Bridge on Saginaw’s South Side, and sexually assaulting them before threatening them to not report the incidents to police.

He’s also accused of entering a 22-year-old woman’s car on Sept. 14 in the same parking lot as the second incident. Currington only was able to tell the woman to shut up twice before her boyfriend, who has just walked her to her vehicle, pulled him out of the car, the woman testified at Currington’s hearing.

After the state police expedited testing the samples from the second incident and matched Currington’s DNA, troopers arrested him within four days of the third incident.

In the first incident, Currington is charged with armed robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, two counts of first-degree and a single count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a weapon, extortion, and assault with intent to commit great bodily harm less than murder.

In the second incident, Currington is charged with carjacking, kidnapping, three counts of first-degree and one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, and extortion.

In the third incident, Currington now is charged with felonious assault, or assault with a dangerous weapon. District Judge M.T. Thompson, who presided over the preliminary hearing, dismissed felony charges of attempted carjacking and attempted kidnapping.

If Currington is convicted, he will face a 25-year mandatory minimum sentence because prosecutors have charged him as a violent fourth-or-subsequent-time offender.

Currington served about 29 years in prison for two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and two other offenses for a Nov. 28, 1983, rape in downtown Saginaw. He was released from prison on July 17, 2012, and from parole on July 17, 2014 of this year, according to county Prosecutor John McColgan Jr.

The facts from that case are similar to this summer’s incidents, as Currington pulled a knife on a woman who was leaving work in downtown Saginaw and ultimately raped her.

Currington remains jailed without bond.

— Andy Hoag covers courts for MLive/The Saginaw News. Email him at ahoag@mlive.com or follow him on Twitter @awhoag
2014 Larry Currington Assault Case