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DNA entered into Tassie trial

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CANTON — The DNA connecting Jason D. Tassie, 30, 124 Main St., Massena, to the 2009 sexual assault of an 86-year-old woman will be used in the trial against him.

Jury selection for that trial begins Wednesday and the trial is scheduled to begin Thursday.

St. Lawrence County Judge Jerome J. Richards filed his decision on what evidence would and wound not be used after 2 weeks of pretrial evidence suppression hearings arguing that Mr. Tassie’s DNA had been obtained illegally by Massena police due to a mistake made by a Massena Town Court clerk convicting Mr. Tassie of a 2006 misdemeanor.

Judge Richards decided DNA samples taken from Mr. Tassie on Aug. 15 and Sept. 22 will be suppressed as they were connected to the incorrect information filed by the Massena court clerk; however a motion to suppress a third and fourth DNA sample was denied as reasonable cause to collect existed.

“DNA has been the issue in this case and the most critical,” Judge Richards said at the close of the suppression hearings, three weeks ago. “Without it, we wouldn’t have a case.”

Multiple samples of DNA had been collected from Mr. Tassie after he became a suspect in a July 26, 2012 peeping tom case. A check into his criminal history by Massena police in the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System revealed a “hit” indicating that the defendant owed DNA sample as a result of that 2006 mistaken conviction.

It was the collection of that DNA that matched Mr. Tassie with the 2009 sexual assault case in which he was charged in September with felony counts of first-degree burglary and second-degree aggravated sexual assault.

St. Lawrence County District Attorney Nicole M. Duve said, after reviewing the judge’s decision to allow the latter collected DNA and other evidence including interviews between police and Mr. Tassie, the office will intend on using everything to their advantage.

And while the use of DNA in the upcoming trail would seemingly favor the DA’s office, Mr. Tassie’s attorney, Mary E. Rain, said the defense still has victory in mind, citing DNA expert, lawyer Barry C. Scheck, who served on O.J. Simpson’s defense team during his highly popularized murder trial of which he was acquitted.

“Barry Scheck deals with DNA cases all of the time,” Ms. Rain said. “Just because there is DNA in a trial doesn’t mean it’s 100 percent. The victory is there, you still have to connect the dots and that is extremely important.”

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