DNA in Unlikely Place Cracks Case

Posted on: 10:19 pm, January 17, 2013, by

BARBERTON, Ohio — DNA taken from a dog’s mouth helps police track down a man accused of a violent robbery and home invasion.   Then police learn the suspect was already in jail, accused of a deadly double shooting.

“We were told that three men with masks illegally entered the house, robbed the residents, there were two residents there,” said Barberton patrolman Marty Eberhart.

Barberton police say on Oct. 6, they responded to a violent home invasion at a house on Jefferson Avenue.

“One of the subjects had a gun, he assaulted one of the residents in the house, and as they were fleeing, they had a pit bull at the house that went after the suspect and bit him in the arm and leg,” Eberhart said.

Investigators say one of the three men pulled out a gun and shot the dog.

“When officers get there the dog was deceased, they did a DNA swab of the dog’s mouth after finding out that the dog had bit a suspect,” he said.

Detectives sent the DNA sample to BCI, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.  Two months later, there was a match.

“Approximately on December 5th, we received a letter from BCI saying that there’s a possible match in the DNA from the dog bite that came back to David Stoddard,” said Eberhart.

David Stoddard, 24, who is from Barberton, is the same man arrested and charged with shooting Jessica Halman, 19, and Anna Karam, 16, inside a home in Akron on Jan. 6.  Anna, who was pregnant, died.

Barberton police say at the time, they were making arrangements with Stoddard’s attorney to turn himself in.

“At that point, he would be charged with the robbery and burglary on Jefferson, prior to that, before he turned himself in, he was arrested by Akron,” said the patrolman.

Thursday, a Summit County grand jury indicted Stoddard for aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary in the Jefferson Avenue home invasion.

Police say without swabbing the dog’s mouth, they may have never solved the case.

“We were just as amazed, too, that it actually worked when we did the DNA swab and that it came back to a positive match, so we were pretty shocked by it because we didn’t have any leads on the investigation,” Eberhart said.

In November, Stoddard was charged with carrying a concealed weapon.

He is currently locked up in the Summit County jail.

Police are still looking for the other two men involved in the robbery.