John Gorman, a spokesman for State's Atty. Dick Devine, declined to comment. The decision to drop the case followed the most recent DNA tests conducted on two head hairs discovered on the coat Roscetti was wearing the night of her murder, the results of which are not yet public. Earlier tests were done on nearly two dozen semen stains, blood and two pubic hairs found in the Subaru she was driving that night. All those tests so far found DNA that has matched two unidentified genetic profiles--neither of which have been identified in various DNA databases of thousands of known sex offenders. Pat Camden, a police spokesman, said that detectives were working hard to identify Roscetti's murderers, including trying to find the sources of the new DNA profiles. "This investigation began when factual allegations were brought forward, and it is still continuing," Camden said. "And it's very active."
Family wounds reopened
Roscetti's mother, Lora, said Monday that every new
revelation in the case reopened old emotional wounds, leaving her sad and
frustrated. "After 14 or 15 years, you don't think as much about it," she
said. "You get on with your life. But with this you just end up reliving
it. "We loved her so much," she added. "It's a terrible thing for us."
Lora Roscetti said that she feared the passage of time would make it difficult
for the investigators to find her daughter's real killers. "It's 15 years,"
Roscetti said. "How are they going to find them now?" The Roscetti case
came under renewed scrutiny in February, after Zellner filed in court a
report written by DNA expert Ed Blake. In it, Blake described testimony
offered in the prosecution of the Roscetti case by Pamela Fish, a Chicago
police crime analyst, as "scientific fraud." Fish testified that semen
taken from Roscetti's
body could have come from three of the defendants.
But new DNA tests, conducted at independent labs, showed that semen on Roscetti's underwear and on a vaginal swab were not from any of the four men convicted of Roscetti's abduction, rape and murder. A Tribune investigation published May 2 detailed how the case against the four was evaporating even before the initial DNA test results were known. Prosecutors had based much of their case on statements from two of the men confessing to Roscetti's murder and rape. Both men later said those statements were coerced by police, and witnesses who testified against the men admitted they lied. After the initial round of DNA tests seemed to clear the four men, Porter ordered additional DNA tests on all of Roscetti's clothing in an effort to eliminate all possibility of involvement by the four men.
More DNA evidence found
Those tests turned up 22 semen stains on Roscetti's
coat and jogging pants--clothes that initially were examined by Fish after
Roscetti's body was found on a desolate West Side railway access road.
At that time, Fish reported finding no semen stains on those items, according
to records obtained by the Tribune. Fish, who joined the Illinois State
Police crime lab in the
mid-1990s when it took over the Chicago police lab, was transferred in August from her post as head of the biochemistry section to an administrative job in research and development. She has declined to comment on the case. The Chicago Police Department's cold case squad launched an extensive reinvestigation of Roscetti's murder last spring. Inaddition to checking sex offender databases, police have obtained DNA samples from dozens of people, some of whom were briefly considered suspects in 1986. But to date, no matches have been found. The four teens were arrested in January and February 1987, about three months after Roscetti's murder. They were accused of attacking Roscetti as she drove home from a night studying at Rush University medical school, forcing her to the railroad access road, and then raping and killing her. Police said at the time that Bradford and 14-year-old Calvin Ollins confessed, saying they ambushed Roscetti at random to get bus fare for Calvin Ollins to return home to the Cabrini-Green housing development.
Separate trials, convictions
Bradford pleaded guilty and testified against Larry
Ollins in return for a 12-year sentence. After his release, he later served
time for a burglary conviction. The other three were convicted in separate
trials and got life terms. Bradford later told the Tribune that he falsely
confessed under police coercion to save himself from a life sentence. Calvin
Ollins, who defense attorneys said was mildly mentally retarded, said he
confessed because police told him he could go home if he did. Other key
witnesses recanted critical testimony in interviews with the Tribune--one
said he testified falsely to try to cash in on a $35,000 reward; the other
said he testified for the prosecution to avoid being implicated himself.