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joseph roger o'dell A Prisoner's Plea (8/16/88)
August 16, 1988

The Honorable H. Calvin Spain
The Curcuit Court of Virginia Beach
Municipal Center
Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456

IN RE: Joseph Roger O'Dell, III -v- Commonwealth of Virginia

Dear Judge Spain:

I have been in contact with Dr. Robert Schaler of "Lifecodes" Laboratories in Valhalla, New York, getting pertinent information concerning DNA Fingerprinting and the prerequisites of having evidence sent to his laboratory for testing the above-referenced case.

The first step is obiously [sic] making a request for the evidence to be released to "Lifecodes" and a "Chain of Custody" established. I would like to request that all the serological evidence in the above-referenced case be prepared by a person not connected to the Police Department or the Prosecution, and that this person be delegated by this Honorable Court to deliver this evidence to a "Federal Express" Office and have the evidence shipped directly to Doctor Robert Schaler, "Lifecodes," Old Saw Mill Road, Valholla, New York 10595. . .

"Lifecodes" has an impeccable reputation, and is used by Police Departments and Prosecutors Offices all over America, so I do not anticipate any objections from the Commonwealth concerning their credentials. Further, I do not think the Commonwealth would want to object to the DNA Fingerprint Testing being done in this case... it is in their best interests as well as mine. They do not want an innocent person being executed and this test will prove innocence or guilt to an acceptable "Absolute Certainty." It is so acceptable that VIRGINIA is setting up their own DNA Testing Laboratories and are training personnel to conduct the testing.

If I were not innocent of this crime I would have to be insane or non compos mentis [sic] to request DNA Fingerprinting. I believe that the Commonwealth of Virginia owes me this chance to prove my innocence, and on the other hand, they owe themselves the opportunity to KNOW that they either have the RIGHT or WRONG man on Death Row. This is no "Self-Serving" request Judge Spain... this request affords me the chance to prove my innocence, and it affords the Commonwealth of Virginia the chance to prove guilt. One of us has to be wrong...we both cannot be right, and I am the one that is adamantly professing my innocence....now I have the chance to prove it. If the Commonwealth of Virginia refuses to allow me this chance, then it is going to appear that they are hiding something, and further, it will appear that DNA Fingerprinting is being used to only CONVICT accused persons. This is an opportune time for Law Enforcement to prove that they protect the Innocent as well as prosecute the Guilty.

I ask this Hornorable Court, humbly, to consider this request and allow me the chance to prove my innocence.

Respectfully submitted,

Joseph Roger O'Dell, III

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