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TrueAllele solves uninterpretable DNA in mother and daughter double homicide

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PITTSBURGH — On February 15, 2023, Allegheny County police found the bodies of Megan Campbell (39) and her 7-year-old daughter Lyla. Barricaded in their Swissvale apartment, the Pennsylvania women had been shot in the head at close range. The detectives saw signs of a struggle.

Investigators collected evidence: a pistol, two dumbbells (used to barricade the door), an overturned chair, a coat, and a t-shirt. The Medical Examiner’s Office produced DNA data from the items. Fingerprints were found on the weapon, and ballistics matched the firearm.

On these probative DNA evidence items, the Crime Laboratory reported that “due to the data being uninterpretable, no comparison can be made to the reference samples.” The District Attorney’s Office then contacted Cybergenetics for assistance.

On the same “uninterpretable” DNA data, TrueAllele got answers. The computer unmixed the mixtures, which contained as many as five contributors. TrueAllele then compared the unmixed evidence with the two victims and suspect Kareef Easington. Some items showed DNA from all three people. TrueAllele found Easington’s DNA on all six evidence items. His strong match statistics ranged from a trillion to two decillion (a 1 followed by 33 zeros).

On April 15, 2024, Cybergenetics Casework Manager Jennifer Bracamontes testified about the TrueAllele results at the Allegheny County Courthouse in Pittsburgh. The next day, the jury found Easington guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and tampering with evidence. He faces a mandatory penalty of life in prison without parole. Sentencing is in July.