The Evil Twin Defense: Court Rules Army Officer Can Blame His Twin For Serial Assaults on Young Girls

r620-709b09915e01fba007e33cdf61d53ad9640We have previously discussed actual evil twin defenses in past cases (here and here and here and here). However, a case out of Colorado Springs now has a detailed opinion specifically allowing the use of the defense in a major case. District Judge David Shakes ruled Friday that an Army artillery officer, 1st Lt. Aaron Lucas, could argue that his twin brother may be responsible for a series of sexual assaults.

Since they have shared DNA, the argument presents an obvious challenge for prosecutors. They still have to face evidence directly related to Lucas’ movements. However, Shakes appropriately held that the defense, even if not persuasive, is still a legitimate argument for the defense to raise: “Whether it’s persuasive or not — that’s not my role. It’s the role of the jury.”

Lucas will argue that the police grabbed the wrong twin after discovering DNA on girls in Madison, Ala. and Texarkana, Texas. The attacks were two years apart. They say it was the work of Brian Frederick Lucas, who happened to live in both states. They say that a third unrelated man is responsible for assaults in Colorado.

I fail to see how the court could come to any other conclusion if another man has the identical DNA as the defendant. I have long been critical of the increasing micromanagement of trials by judges who now routinely bar defenses and theories that they find unpersuasive or unsupportable. The result is that defendants are sometimes denied the defense that they wish to make to a jury — the actual claim of innocence that they cite as the reason why they are not felons. The fact that prosecutors wanted to bar this defense shows their expectation that they can tailor criminal defenses and limit what the defendant can allege as the basis for his innocence.

What will be interesting is, if successful, the other twin could blame the current defendant at his trial.

Source: USA Today

20 thoughts on “The Evil Twin Defense: Court Rules Army Officer Can Blame His Twin For Serial Assaults on Young Girls”

  1. maybe we should just lock these two brothers up together in a small 8 by 8 foot cell. surely one of them will crack!

  2. wonders does this rule apply when the sisters are 12 years apart yet still get mistaken for twins every time they’re out together.? or when a [picture is taken and you’re asked which one is you.?

    Because if it does i might just have to get my younger self into some trouble lol

  3. The rule in the District of Columbia used to be (and maybe still is) that before a defendant could present evidence or argue that another person committed the charged offense, the evidence must “clearly link” the other individual to the commission of the crime. So, if the government’s theory was that A killed B over a drug debt, the defense could not present evidence that C also had a similar motive unless there was something else “clearly linking” C to the crime.

  4. Anonymously Yours 1, November 18, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Any defense is a defense…. And the jury should have the tight to hear it….
    Except the Judge Ito defense. 😉

  5. Correct decision as noted above. Wasn’t this issue dealt with in a movie some time ago?? I seem to recall something like this….

  6. Cheerios is the only cerial which I could conceive of being subject to a sexual penetration. Are all cerial rapists “little guys” so to speak?

  7. I would say that both of those two guys in the two photos with the shaved heads look guilty of something.

  8. I have an evil twin named Skippy. I have not seen hide nor hair of him since birth. Yet he is constantly getting me in trouble. His DNA was found in an automobile in Australia that had a dead person in the wreckage. They thought I was the driver. I had never been East of Corfu or West of East Sidalia. My brother Jake got accused of the Austrialian crime too. He has never left East Saint Louis except to go to the casinos on the West Bank of the Mississippi. When they establish Cardinal Nation he will not be allowed across the bridge because he is a Cubs fan. Such is the plus and minus of DNA.

  9. Of course, if it’s a sex assault case and the stem cell donor is a woman, you’re shit outta luck on that. Probably, there’s always the Judge Ito variable.

  10. A stem cell transplant could also afford a person this defense. Since the recipient of a stem cell transplant then has the donor’s DNA. As long as this isn’t Judge Ito I guess I’m OK w/ it.

  11. Sorry for the mistakes, my tablet doesn’t hear me very well. I said, punish the innocent… and let the guilty walk free

  12. Obfuscate, obfuscate, obfuscate… this is the America we leaving now. punish the emotion, and let the guilty get away with just about anything

  13. This is a good decision. One would think that the Prosecutor had done investigation to rule out the other twin as being culpable. If they haven’t then the prosecutions case is faulty. Convicting someone “beyond a reasonable doubt” should be just that. The defense is trying to create that doubt and the Prosecution should counter it if they can, rather then just having it excluded.

    Like fingerprints, there have been cases showing that DNA evidence is not always conclusive. The State has a duty to investigate beyond bringing a case they think can get past the jury with evidence that has a possible chance of bringing the wrong conclusion.

  14. Tony C. 1, November 18, 2013 at 7:52 am

    Even twins do not have identical DNA; here is a NY Times Article from five years ago talking about that.

    Here is another (2013) article, that puts the price tag on differentiating identical twin DNA at about $10,000. In this case for the same reason, a sex crime in France.
    Sounds like DNA will be put on trial by the testimony of experts in this case.

    There are some other mentionable discoveries in addition to the ones you listed:

    Genomic analyses of single human neurons—either from postmortem brains or those derived in culture—reveal a considerable degree of DNA copy number variation, according to a paper published today (October 31) in Science. It is likely that these genetic differences affect brain cell function, and they may even shape our personalities, academic abilities, and susceptibilities to neurological diseases.

    Hall has been able to sequence the genomes of 110 individual neurons from the postmortem brains of three individuals. He found that a striking 41 percent of the cells contained one or more copy number variations. Most of these were sub-chromosomal alterations—either deletions or duplications.

    From biology class to “C.S.I.,” we are told again and again that our genome is at the heart of our identity. Read the sequences in the chromosomes of a single cell, and learn everything about a person’s genetic information — or, as 23andme, a prominent genetic testing company, says on its Web site, “The more you know about your DNA, the more you know about yourself.”

    But scientists are discovering that — to a surprising degree — we contain genetic multitudes. Not long ago, researchers had thought it was rare for the cells in a single healthy person to differ genetically in a significant way. But scientists are finding that it’s quite common for an individual to have multiple genomes. Some people, for example, have groups of cells with mutations that are not found in the rest of the body. Some have genomes that came from other people.

    (The Uncertain Gene – 7). That being said, I agree with the judge and JT that the accused should be allowed to put on “the evil twin defense”.

    In addition to that, I think that criminal defense lawyers and prosecutors need to be aware of where these new developments may take us.

  15. Even twins do not have identical DNA; here is a NY Times Article from five years ago talking about that.

    Here is another (2013) article, that puts the price tag on differentiating identical twin DNA at about $10,000. In this case for the same reason, a sex crime in France.

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