, 2022-09-23 17:03:59,
Crime-scene investigators in December 1997 determined that someone killed Paul Horvat, 54, with three shots from a .243 Winchester while he was deer hunting in Pennsylvania’s Menallen township, a 20-minute drive north of Gettysburg.
Horvat’s corpse was lying in a creek, and he’d been shot in the back. His rifle was missing. Investigators found a doe’s gut pile nearby, but its carcass was missing, too. Investigators collected blood and tissue samples from the gut pile, but found scant physical evidence to explain Horvat’s death.
Seven years later, prosecutors used DNA evidence from the doe’s gut pile to tie Lawrence Cseripko of nearby Uniontown to the murder. They arrested Cseripko in October 2004, accusing him of shooting Horvat, leaving him to die, and stealing his deer.
Why did it take seven years to arrest Cseripko? That’s how long it took to obtain credible genetic evidence to link him to the crime. By the end of the 1980s, U.S. courts almost universally accepted DNA evidence for identifying individual humans. But given the price tag of DNA work and the lack of relevant wildlife databases, DNA evidence remained a relatively untested method for identifying individual animals and solving wildlife-related crimes throughout the 1990s and into the early 2000s.
Police zeroed in on Cseripko in 1998 after learning that he confronted Horvat in 1996 and accused him of poaching a deer. A neighbor with a view of the hunting property told investigators about the…
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