This Just In: Serial Rapist Black

Thanks to a $1,000 DNA analysis, DNAPrint Genomics has determined that the serial rapist is — get this — a black man. In an interview, a representative from the company, which was hired by the Charlottesville police, said that this shows that “this guy’s not Caucasian or East Asian or a guy from Mexico.” That clears that up. Reed Williams has the story in the Progress.

10 Responses to “This Just In: Serial Rapist Black”


  • does this mean we can NOW take DNA samples of black people.

    JKing I kneed I kneed

    Man why can’t we get the people from CSI tv show to solve this problem. You guys ever watch that show. I guess we got the C team.

  • This from the bottom of the story:

    The Charlottesville Police Department paid DNA Print Genomics $1,000 to conduct the test…”We honestly are trying to do everything we can,” city police Capt. J.E. “Chip” Harding said. “We don’t want to rule out any avenue in this investigation.”

    On the surface, it is easy to criticise this “finding”, but I for one am glad that the police are exploring all areas that merit investigation. A thousand bucks for a simple genetic test sure beats going door-to-door and asking for spittle samples.

  • A thousand bucks for a simple genetic test sure beats going door-to-door and asking for spittle samples.

    Well, if that were the trade-off, yeah. :) But, to be fair, there’s really only one thing that’s known for a fact about the serial rapist: he’s black. If we’re going to be spending a grand of the PD’s budget, I’d rather it be on finding out new information, not confirming the thoroughly-confirmed.

    I have to admit that I’m a couple of years behind on genetic-testing developments, but I’d be real interested to find out what the cost would be of ascertaining some more specific traits. Height? Genetic predisposition towards any illnesses? Age? (I have absolutely no idea if age can be determined genetically, actually.) Could any other evidence (ie, hair) be studied to check for any environmental signs providing a clue as to his home — the level of sulfur dioxide indicating proximity to a coal-burning power plant, particular nutritional deficiencies indicating low SES, the presence of surfactants indicating the use of a particular brand of soap, etc. (Amazing work has been done along these lines in the case of “Adam,” in England, in the past couple of years.)

    I’m all for using resources to catch this guy — in fact, I wish that the PD would spend more resources and do more of this type of thing — but I want them to be the right resources, providing more clues, not confirming the one thing that’s known for sure.

  • I think the DNA test might be more subtle than we’re giving credit.

    Does the test say specifically that the rapist is of African descent? If so, that differentiates him from, say, someone of Dominican descent. Both of them could very well have a similar complexion. That is, both of them are "black." But they’re of completely different ethnic groups.

  • Quite right, Dan. Reed Williams’ lede, which was presumably repeating what the police said, read:

    Testing of the local serial rapist’s DNA shows a profile of his ancestry that supports victims’ accounts that he is black, authorities announced Monday.

    Black and African-American are often used as synonyms (I know that I do so all the time), leading to descriptions of Colin Powell as “African American” when he is, in fact, black and of Caribbean descent.

    Helping nothing is the quote from the DNAPrint employee (“this guy’s not Caucasian or East Asian or a guy from Mexico”) — it would have been more useful to say “this guy’s not Caribbean or north Indian or Brazilian.”

    Of course, that probably doesn’t clear up a whole lot — I don’t imagine that there’s a particularly large population of blacks of non-African descent in the area (somebody that doesn’t have a 9:30am exam tomorrow could check census data) — but you’re right, it does help to round things down a little bit. I hope that this is a part of a larger effort to round things down — 50 pieces of evidence, each of which round down the potential population by 2%, will yield a suspect.

    And, yeah, I know the math doesn’t work. :)

  • I’m no expert on world history. But arent blacks in the carribean decended from african blacks? Wouldn’t their genetics be the same? How much has evolution changed them in a few hundred years?

    Thats like saying "oh, he’s an AMERICAN black, not an AFRICAN black."

    Can you tell the difference between a european white, and a south african white?

  • I’m no expert on the topic. See this Sept. 12 article from the Arizona Republic (Google cache) for more rumination on the topic.

  • $1000 is a small price for CPD to pay for a little validation for their random DNA testing. now that they "know" the S.R. is black, they can justify (in their own little way) the random canvassing they did earlier this year.

  • Yeah the blacks in the Carribean are generally the same in origin also, the were brought over as slaves from Africa… Anyway, Waldo made a good point about Colin Powel, little known fact among Whites (not to be stereotypical) is that most blacks in this area indeed are made up of several different races. I encourage to go look around town and look at the various shades of colors people are(without being obvious of course ha ha). You’ll notice blacks rance from being very dark to very light. I know in my own family for instance on both my mother and father side we can only go up a generation or two at the most without noticing a white or indian ancestor. Fact is very FEW blacks originally from this area are entirly "African American" which is why I feel describing the race as "black".

  • is more accurate

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