NOTE TO CRIMINALS: DNA CAN CHASE YOU DOWN

May 02, 2001 12:00 am

Note to criminals: DNA

can chase you down

The science of forensic criminology has come a long way in the past decade. Specifically, DNA testing is changing the way crimes are solved and helping to pinpoint who committed the crime. A recent story casts a long shadow on a crime that had not been solved in 20 years.

A 36-year-old steelworker in Oakley, Calif., William Henry Allen Jr., was arrested and charged with the murder and rape of a 17-year-old girl in Medford. Both the victim and the accused were students in 1981, when the girls body was found beneath the grandstands at Medford Mid-High School.

Allen was considered a person of interest from the beginning, but it had not been until recently that further developed DNA identification techniques are proving effective in identifying crime suspects. The idea that a person can get away with the murder of another human being is being dispelled every day. Even old homicides like the one in Medford should put the fear of God in the hearts of potential murderers.

As long as there is no statute of limitations on such criminal acts, even those who committed murders years ago are within the grasp of hard-working law enforcement officers who can use DNA and other methods to track down criminals and lock them up for a long time.

GOODBYE TO BLAZERS

The theme of the Portland Trail Blazers 2000-01 season was One Team. One Dream. The season began with the hope that the best-paid team in the National Basketball Association would overcome all obstacles and claim the world-championship crown in June.

Were now in the first week of May, with plenty of games left in the NBA playoffs. The Blazers already have been eliminated in three games in the first round by the Los Angeles Lakers.

There is plenty of blame go around for the Blazers self-destruction. All Star forward Rasheed Wallace let his anger spill over into a NBA-record number of technical fouls. His behavior became a major distraction for referees, the fans and his team.

Blazers President Bob Whitsitt elected to bring on point guard Rod Strickland a couple months ago, affecting team chemistry. Add to that the knee injury to shooting guard Bonzi Wells and the need for Shawn Kemp to check himself into a drug-addiction program, and the Blazers unraveled.

Thank goodness theres another team in the Northwest that Oregonians can focus on now, and it has nothing to do with jump balls or free throws. The Seattle Mariners started its 2001 Major League season with a record-breaking 20 wins and five losses in April.

The Mariners are good for what ails us. They can help us quickly forget about the Blazers as we turn our attention toward earned-run-averages, stolen bases and some nice plays in the infield.