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Trooper's blood on Mollett's phone

| Friday, Oct. 19, 2007, 12:00 p.m.

The blood of a slain state trooper was on Leslie Mollett's cell phone when police found it at his girlfriend's South Side home, a DNA expert testified Thursday.

Angelina Biondi, who works at the state police crime lab, testified that state police Cpl. Joseph Pokorny's DNA was lifted from samples taken from a cell phone found at Charise Cheatom's home shortly after Mollett was arrested there.

Biondi said that while the sample could not be declared a perfect match, the chances of the DNA belonging to somebody else were "1 in 100 billion."

Mollett, 32, of Knoxville is accused of fatally shooting Pokorny, 45, of Moon on Dec. 12, 2005, outside the ExtendedStay America hotel in Carnegie. Mollett could face the death penalty if convicted.

Pokorny was attempting to pull over Mollett for speeding on the Parkway West. Mollett fled and crashed his car in a snow bank outside the hotel. Two of Mollett's friends ran away after he started to scuffle with Pokorny, according to Allegheny County Deputy District Attorney Mark V. Tranquilli.

Pokorny was shot twice with his own gun, which police never found.

Hours after the shooting, police tracked Mollett to Cheatom's home and found the cell phone in a drawer with his clothes.

Biondi testified that Pokorny's DNA matched blood found on both the passenger and driver's side doors in the Mercury sedan Mollett was driving. Mollett's DNA was found on an inhaler, knit cap and a Glock pistol all found scattered around the trooper's body.

Mollett's DNA was also found in the pocket of a mink coat and on an inhaler cap in the pocket of the coat, which was found under Pokorny's body.

Defense attorney John Elash attacked the credibility of the evidence, asking about contamination. He pointed to an autopsy picture showing Pokorny's clothes lying together on a table.

Although the clothes were never tested for DNA, Elash asked, "If all the evidence was collected in this manner, it could be contaminated, right?"

Biondi said evidence contaminated at collection could skew the results, but said collection procedures safeguard evidence.

The third week of testimony will wrap up today.

Common Pleas Judge Lawrence J. O'Toole yesterday lifted a violation of a court order against a North Side man who was arrested last week for snapping pictures inside the courtroom.

Deputy sheriff Richard Manning told O'Toole that Paul Sirmons, 36, has a history of mental health issues and that investigators did not believe Sirmons was taking pictures to intimidate witnesses.

Sirmons still has trespassing and disorderly conduct charges pending as a result of the incident.

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