The Victims The Place Time It Was The Crime The Investigation The Convicted
The Victims The Place The Investigation Time it was The Crime The Convicted


alabama crime lab

Submission to the Alabama Dept of Forensic Sciences report,  January 5, 1994.  Q9 is the hair from beneath Chris Byers' ligature. 

The Telltale Hairs

    A hair beneath Michael Moore's ligature was found to be one nucleotide distant the from a mitchondrial DNA sample obtained from the house of Terry Hobbs, the stepfather of  victim, Stevie Branch. MtDNA can exclude who is not the source of the hair. The limitations of these findings are described in a new section called heteroplasmy

The DNA of the murderer.

    Another piece of DNA evidence may go further to identify the killer.  The mtDNA of the hair beneath Chris Byers' ligature was sucessfully sequenced.   This hair was originally referenced in the January 5, 1994 evidence submission to Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences and its sequence was reported by Bode Research Institute on page 10 of their September 27, 2007 report.  

    Most interesting is who it does not belong to, virtually ruling out passive transfer. 

    It does not belong to: 
  • The victims. 
  • Terry Hobbs - it does not match his mtDNA which has been sequenced.
  • Pamela Hobbs.  Mitochondrial DNA is maternally passed down with its sequence intact.  Pamela Hobbs mtDNA is the same as Steve Branch's mtDNA and, since the hair's mtDNA does not match the victims, it can not be from Pamela Hobbs.
  • Due to an extension of the same reason, it can not be Amanda Hobbs hair.  She also received her mother's mtDNA.  So, it can not have come from the Hobbs immediate household.
  • It can not be Melissa Byers hair (same sequence as Chris Byers). 
  • It can not be Ryan Clark's hair (same sequence as Chris Byers).
  • It can not be Diane Moore's hair (same sequence as Michael Moore).
  • It can not be Dawn Moore's hair (same sequence as Michael Moore).
  • The three in prison (sequenced).  
    Among the immediate household members, it could only be John Mark Byers or Todd Moore's hair.   (I am not trying to cast aspersions in their direction, I'm only trying to say they haven't been eliminated as sources, the way, for example, Detective Bryn Ridge who picked up the bodies hasn't been eliminated.)

    The Serological Research Institute sequenced a set of mtDNA sequences, 1 through 7, the identity of which are not provided in the court documents.  It is quite possible these are from John Mark Byers, as he was a "person of interest."  It is also possible that it was John Mark Byers and Todd Moore, for exclusionary purposes. Since, no note of matching was mentioned, it would follow he (or they) is (are) not the source of this hair.

    So whose hair is it?  If the hair belongs to a reasonable suspect, then that person would be the murderer.   To propose an innocent explanation for a hair match beneath the ligature without a benign explanation for contact with victim Chris Byers would be absurd.

Page 12 of Exhibit W, Bode Research Institute Report

        The mitochondrial DNA sequence of the hair beneath Chris Byers ligature.

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