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Evidence points to DNA of Magana.

Byline: Rebecca Nolan The Register-Guard

The prosecution rested its case against Roger Eugene Magana on Tuesday after presenting evidence that trace amounts of DNA found on a pair of women's sweatpants most likely belonged to the former police officer.

A forensic analyst testified that there was a one in a billion chance that the genetic material found on the pants belongs to someone else.

Magana, 41, is accused of accepting sexual favors from the woman who owned the sweatpants in exchange for not arresting her on warrants. He also is accused of allegedly forcing several other women to perform sex acts against their will under threat of arrest or - as one woman testified - threat of death.

Magana has denied the women's allegations. His attorney, Russell Barnett, is expected to present the defense's case beginning at 9:30 a.m. today.

Over nine days of testimony, Lane County Deputy District Attorney Bob Lane called 13 of the 15 women named in the indictment to testify. Charges related to the two women who did not testify were dismissed Tuesday at Lane's request.

Four other counts also were dismissed. Magana now faces a total of 46 counts ranging from first-degree rape to harassment. He potentially could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted.

Since testimony began on June 4, the women have told the jury of six men and six women, plus four alternates, their stories of abuse, allegedly at Magana's hands. Together, they painted a picture of a man who appears to have used his job as a police officer to prowl the streets in search of sexual gratification, apparently without remorse or fear of getting caught.

On one end of the spectrum, a woman testified that Magana tried to arrange a date with her when he stopped to help her with a car breakdown. Another said he stalked her for months before coming to her home and allegedly raping her.

The women ranged in age from 17 to 50 at the time of their experiences with Magana. They come from all walks of life, from college student to heroin-addicted prostitute.

Lane called witnesses to confirm portions of the women's stories, and Eugene police Sgt. Scott McKee used cell phone records, officer work schedules, computer keystroke audits and dispatch logs to establish a timeline that also supported the women's allegations.

The DNA evidence was the final element in the prosecution's case.

The woman who owns the pants testified last week that she eventually became concerned for her personal safety. Inspired by a television crime show, she saved what she said were Magana's body fluids on a pair of black velour sweatpants in case anything ever happened to her.

She gave the pants to police last August. They first went to the Oregon State Police crime lab in Springfield, where forensic scientist Jennifer Riedel tested them for an enzyme found in seminal fluid. The tests came up positive, she said.

After the state crime lab in Portland found a "trace" level of DNA that it was not equipped to analyze, the pants were sent back to Eugene police and on to a private laboratory in Richmond, Calif., called the Serological Research Institute, for further testing. By the time the package arrived, it had been contaminated with some kind of oily, greasy substance that soaked through the paper bag containing the pants, said Angela Butler, forensic serologist with the lab. Butler said she was able to get a successful DNA profile despite the contamination and the presence of at least two other men's genetic material on the same pants.

She said the profile matched Magana, and one in a billion people in the population could share the same characteristics. A second test did not exclude Magana, she said.
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Title Annotation:Courts; The defense begins its case today in the trial of the former Eugene police officer
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jun 23, 2004
Words:627
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