Accused stumped by DNA

The man accused of an armed robbery in Penticton in 2014 could not explain in court Tuesday how his DNA got on a hat and bandana found near the crime scene.

Shayne McGenn, 35, is on trial for robbery, disguising his face with intent to commit an offence and using an imitation firearm during an offence in relation to a robbery at the Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy on May 22, 2014.

McGenn is also set to stand trial in New Westminster next week for second-degree murder related to the killing of a man in Abbotsford in Feb. 2016.

The Penticton robbery trial resumed Tuesday with testimony from RCMP DNA forensic analyst Natalia Biernat, who explained skin cells were recovered from a hat and bandana found in an alleyway near the pharmacy by a police dog immediately after the robbery.

The trial previously heard the suspect in the robbery, who demanded cash and drugs, was obscuring his face with a hat and bandana.

Biernat said the anonymous samples collected from the hat and bandana matched the known sample — McGenn’s DNA — provided to her. She said the odds of a false positive in a case like this are one in 130-trillion.

While testifying in his own defence, McGenn said he has never seen the hat in question and had no idea how his DNA ended up on it.

In a moment straight out of the O.J. Simpson trial, defence lawyer Don Skogstad had his client try to put on the snapback ball cap. When the hat did not fit in the configuration as came out of the evidence bag, he adjusted it to its maximum size.

At that point, the hat was loose enough to allow two fingers inside it at the temple.

The accused testified he was in OK Falls at a staff meeting the entire morning the robbery occurred, and could not have been in Penticton to conduct the robbery that was reported at 9:49 a.m.

McGenn testified he was using heroin and fentanyl at the time of the robbery and would not have been interested in the Oxycontin the robber supposedly demanded.

Const. Timothy Wood was one of two police officers who took the stand Tuesday. He was tasked with escorting the police dog handler around the crime scene about an hour after the robbery.

He told the court the police dog quickly found a track in the pharmacy and followed it about 60 metres out the back door where the robbers fled. The hat containing DNA evidence was recovered.

Yesterday, the trial heard from two employees of the pharmacy, which were described at “very distraught” by the attending police officer.

While the Crown has concluded its case, the defence has hinted at one more witness in addition to McGenn. It’s expected the trial will wrap by Wednesday.

McGenn’s 13-week murder trial is set to start April 30 in New Westminster.

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