Anthony Pardon defense team could challenge DNA at murder trial

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COLUMBUS - Defense attorneys for twice-convicted rapist Anthony Pardon said Wednesday that they could possibly challenge DNA testing during his upcoming capital murder trial.

In what prosecutors have called a crime of opportunity, Pardon is accused of entering the Columbus apartment of 24-year-old Rachael Anderson in late January and raping and killing her. Authorities have said the two did not know each other.

Shortly after his arrest, Columbus police announced that Anderson had been tortured and that they were confident in the arrest because of DNA found at the scene.

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"I think that will probably be a big issue in this case," Defense attorney Larry Thomas told 10 Investigates. "Because that's a key piece of evidence... finding his alleged DNA at the crime scene."

Thomas told 10 Investigates that all the discovery has been shared between prosecutors and the defense team in this case. A status hearing was set for December 4th. A trial date was set for early April of 2019.

Pardon has pleaded not guilty to the charges. But if convicted, Pardon could face the death penalty.

Pardon, who spent nearly 25 years in an Ohio prison after being convicted of rape and attempted murder, spent another nine years in a Georgia prison for failing to register as a sex offender before being released in 2017.

As 10 Investigates first reported, a Georgia judge had asked that Pardon wear a GPS ankle monitor and pay for all expenses as he served out his post-release probation in Ohio as part of a prison exchange program, records uncovered by 10 Investigates show that the state of Ohio's Adult Parole Authority said it could not comply with that request because of the "length of time and the expense issue."

In the courtroom Wednesday were both of Rachael Anderson's parents. It marked the first time both of them were present for one of Pardon's hearings. They declined to comment afterward.

Thomas said that Pardon's sister also attended Wednesday's hearing.