Bryan Clay's attorney says saliva may have contaminated DNA from - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Bryan Clay's attorney says saliva may have contaminated DNA from murder scene

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More than five years later, a man is standing trial accused of the rape and murder of a 10-year-old girl and her mother. (FOX5) More than five years later, a man is standing trial accused of the rape and murder of a 10-year-old girl and her mother. (FOX5)
Bryan Clay, accused of the rape and murder of a 10-year-old girl and her mother, listened to hours of testimony Friday regarding his DNA found at the crime scene. Bryan Clay, accused of the rape and murder of a 10-year-old girl and her mother, listened to hours of testimony Friday regarding his DNA found at the crime scene.
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

A man accused of the rape and murder of a 10-year-old girl and her mother listened to hours of testimony Friday regarding his DNA found at the crime scene. Prosecutors and defense attorneys argued over the validity of the evidence on the fourth day of Bryan Clay's death penalty trial.

Clay was 22 years old when he was arrested. Prosecutors said his two victims, little Karla Martinez and 38-year-old Ignacia "Yadira" Martinez, were bludgeoned to death with a hammer on April 15, 2012 at their home on Robin Street.

Prosecutors said Clay also attacked and sexually assaulted a 50-year-old woman in the same area where the Martinez family lived. Police tracked her stolen phone, which led them to Clay. 

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At the beginning of the week, defense attorney Anthony Sgro promised the jury that he would cast a lot of doubt on the DNA evidence used in this case.

Two different sets of scientists performed DNA testing: employees at the Las Vegas Crime Lab and scientists at Bode Cellmark Forensics, a private laboratory in Virginia. 

DNA analyst Elena Bemelmans and forensic biology analyst Eric Schiff each testified on behalf of Bode Cellmark Forensics Friday.

Both the Las Vegas Crime Lab and Bode Cellmark Forensics found Clay's DNA on rape kits. Unlike the Las Vegas Crime Lab, Bemelmans said she was unable to confirm Clay's DNA matched male DNA found on a jacket left behind near the crime scene.

"There's at least three people and there's at least one male," she testified.

Sgro spent hours criticizing aspects of DNA analysis as a whole. At one point in the trial, he told members of the jury that officers "used to do solid police work" before the use of DNA evidence became popularized. He argued that it is very easy for DNA to be contaminated.

It's worth mentioning that Sgro and his law firm also represent the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, the union representing officers in the community.

Earlier in the trial, Sgro accused a Metro crime scene analyst of potentially contaminating evidence because she was talking to her co-workers while taking photographs at the crime scene. Unlike that analyst, Bemelmans said she wore a mask to prevent contamination.

At one point during cross-examination, Sgro asked Bemelmans if she was aware of evidence that had been falsified by a Bode Cellmark Forensics employee in the past. Bemelmans said she was not aware of any such cases, but Sgro pressed further until the judge told him to stop.

The trial is set to continue on Tuesday. Unless the witness schedule changes, it will be the first time someone who personally knew the suspect takes the stand.

Stay with FOX5 for continuing coverage of this trial and follow Adam Herbets (@AdamHerbets) on Twitter for live updates inside the courtroom. 

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