Accused killer’s trial likely still on schedule

EVERETT — An evidence impasse apparently was avoided Tuesday in the case of a longtime sex offender charged with two 1995 cold-case killings.

Attorneys for Danny Ross Giles, 46, were assured the state crime lab will by July 22 get them the information and reports they say is necessary to fully evaluate genetic evidence in the case.

Linda Coburn, one of two public defenders representing Giles, had earlier alerted Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Bruce Weiss that a delay may be necessary in Giles’ trial, now scheduled for late September.

After negotiations with the state attorney general’s office, however, the issues related to records from the crime lab have now been addressed, she told the judge.

Giles is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the killing of Patti Berry, 26, and the disappearance and presumed death of Tracey Brazzel, 22.

He was not a suspect in either case 19 years ago. That changed in 2008 when genetic evidence found on the women’s cars was tested and allegedly determined to be from him.

Giles has pleaded not guilty and his attorneys have made clear they plan a spirited defense. Among other things, they’ve gathered information about mistakes the crime lab has acknowledged in DNA testing, particularly contamination of samples, court papers show.

Two deputy prosecutors also are assigned to the case. The lawyers have told Weiss to expect a full calendar of legal issues to address leading up to the trial.

Berry was killed in July 1995. Brazzel disappeared in May of that year. Her body has never been found. In court papers, Giles’ lawyers say they do not believe her death can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. They’ve asked Weiss to decide later this month whether it is proper for Giles to be tried simultaneously on the Berry and Brazzel charges.

Giles was living south of Everett in 1995. The statistical probability of a random DNA match to Giles in the Berry case was calculated at 1 in 580 million, and 1 in 56 quadrillion in the Brazzel case, according to court papers.

Giles’ criminal record, which started in his teens, includes the 1987 rape of a woman attacked while she was using a Lynnwood tanning bed and other crimes against women and girls.

He was finishing a prison sentence for flashing his genitals at young women in Seattle when King County prosecutors in July 2011 obtained court orders to have him locked up indefinitely at the state’s Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island. They petitioned the court to have him declared a sexually violent predator.

Giles was still there in late 2012 when charged with the Snohomish County cold-cases.

Scott North: 425-339-3431; north@heraldnet.com.

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