Accused killer of North Adams woman must provide DNA, judge rules
PITTSFIELD -- A North Adams man accused of murdering his elderly neighbor last September has been ordered to give police investigators a sample of his DNA.
David Delratez, 41, was ordered by Berkshire Superior Court Judge John A. Agostini to provide a cheek swab within 10 days. The sample will be immediately transferred to the State Police Crime Laboratory for comparative analysis.
The order, which the judge issued without comment, allows both the State Police and the defendant's lawyer to be present during the swabbing.
Second Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Robert W. Kinzer III, in a written motion filed earlier this week, said there was "probable cause to believe that such a sample would itself be or lead to material and relevant evidence crucial to the commonwealth's case in establishing the defendant's guilt."
Delratez's attorney, Na thaniel K. Green, argued on Thursday that the DA's Office hadn't met its burden in showing sufficient evidence that his client's DNA was needed to aid in the investigation.
Police and prosecutors allege Delratez beat and stabbed 84-year-old Ellen DePaoli in her North Adams home and then stole her car. He was a friend of the woman's son and a frequent visitor to the home, according to police.
On Sept. 17, police discovered DePaoli's body inside her Walker Street residence after they received a 911 call reporting her death.
During a forensic investigation of the crime scene later that month, a baseball bat, a piece of wood found in the kitchen, and a yellow towel found in the living room tested presumptively positive for the presence of blood.
Delratez was arrested in Bennington, Vt., on Sept. 19. That day, forensic investigators searched the house where Delratez had been staying and found a seat cushion and a blue towel that tested presumptively positive for blood, according to the affidavit.
Later that day, swabs from Delratez's right hand also were presumptively positive for the presence of blood.
The presumptive test for blood can have false positives and doesn't necessarily indicate human blood being present, according to experts.
After being taken into custody, Delratez denied killing DePaoli.
According to a police report, Delratez said DePaoli was already injured when he was called over to the residence by a drug dealer he knew as "Jim Jim" and another man. These two then forced him to drive them to New York state in the woman's Ford Taurus. He later drove to Bennington.
The steering wheel of DePaoli's car tested presumptively positive for blood
No trial date has been set but a status date was scheduled for Sept. 11. Kinzer told the court on Thursday he had recently turned over a large amount of discovery material to Green and that more is coming.
Delratez remains held at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction without bail. He has denied charges of first-degree murder and larceny of a motor vehicle in connection with the killing.
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