Reports say DNA link possible for 3rd player


New DNA testing has revealed a possible link between a Duke University lacrosse player and a woman who accuses team members of raping her, several news outlets reported Thursday.

District Attorney Mike Nifong is expected to use that evidence to seek an indictment of a third player Monday, sources told the Charlotte Observer.

Citing unnamed sources, the Durham Herald-Sun newspaper, ABC News and WRAL-TV in Raleigh, N.C., reported that tissue found under a fingernail belonging to the 27-year-old stripper might match the DNA of a player who was at the mid-March party where the woman says she was raped by three white men.

The Herald-Sun said scientists concluded that the tissue came from the same genetic pool and was consistent with the “bodily makeup” of one of the 46 white players. The newspaper said that because a complete DNA pattern was not obtained from the tissue, it didn’t provide a 100 percent match.

A male pubic hair also has been linked to the case, the newspaper said, but the hair did not have a root, so no DNA was obtained from it. The newspaper’s sources didn’t specify where the hair was found, but did say the hair came from a white man.

Sophomore players Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann have been charged with first-degree rape, sex offense and kidnapping in the case; charges against a third player are possible. Duke University President Richard Brodhead canceled the team’s season and accepted coach Mike Pressler’s resignation.

ABC News reported Thursday that the third player is the same person the accuser identified with 90 percent certainty during a photo line-up Durham police conducted three weeks after the party.

Defense lawyers have said an initial round of DNA tests by the State Bureau of Investigation showed no link between the woman and any of the players, and that no DNA was found on the woman’s body or clothes. Defense lawyers contacted Thursday by the Observer say they don’t know where the latest information came from, and have received no report from the most recent DNA tests.

Nifong couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday. He ordered the additional DNA testing by a private lab, and has said he expects a report on those results to be available Monday.

(c) 2006, The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.).

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AP-NY-05-11-06 2142EDT