Stabbing victim urges HPD for fast DNA testing

September 29, 2010 5:11:13 PM PDT
A stabbing victim is urging the Houston Police Department to give priority to the testing of DNA evidence left by his attacker. Grady Parker fears the attacker was really a rapist stalking his 26-year-old daughter.

The father and daughter both say they want the evidence in this case to be processed now before the attacker could hurt anyone else.

Nearly two months ago, Parker was sleeping at his daughter Paige's new Rice Village apartment when he was awakened and brutally attacked by an intruder. Police even have a surveillance video of the man they believe is responsible.

"I was stabbed in the back again and again," Grady Parker said.

Grady Parker spent 12 days in the hospital. He believes the stabber, who left behind a bag of sex toys and condoms, was actually there to sexually assault his daughter.

What bothers Grady and Paige Parker now is that the evidence collected on August 9 still hasn't been processed at the HPD crime lab and the investigators tell them it could take months.

"The longer this guy is out there the more damage he could cause," Paige Parker said.

"The longer this guy's got to think about it, the farther away he could get," Grady Parker said.

Crime Lab Director Irma Rios says her goal is 30 days in cases like the Parkers, but the reality is much different.

"It could be a couple of weeks; it could be months," Rios said.

The lab has a huge backlog and she says getting out from under it could take 18 months.

Rios said 1,000 current DNA cases are waiting to be processed and 500 other unidentified cases waiting to be evaluated for the presence of blood or semen. There are also 4,000 old rape kits -- many from the 90's -- in the property room that still need to be processed.

Rios blames resources and says her staff of 20 is half of what it should be.

"We would like more individuals, yes," Rios said. "We would like another 20 individuals full time."

The lab is getting 10 temporary techs to process the old property room cases and new robotic equipment next month to help with samples in new cases.

But for the Parkers, justice will be delayed because there is simply too much work to be done and not enough hands to do it.

"If there's evidence that needs to be processed, then it needs to be processed," Parker said.

Rios says cases are moved up according to severity. For example, murder cases are moved up ahead of rape cases, which are ahead of robberies.

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