In 2007, a very puzzling case took place in Missouri – judge Fred W Copeland was reviewing the results of DNA tests in a paternity case, where it was found that there was a 99.999% certainty that two different men were the father of the child in involved in this hearing. How is this possible? It is, and it happened, owing to the fact that the men in question were identical twins.
At the very beginning
Let’s start at the very beginning – Holly Marie Adams, the mother, had had sexual relationships with the twin brothers, namely Ramon and Richard Miller. The twins in question have exactly same genetic make-up, as their conception resulted from a single sperm fertilizing a single egg that then split in two.
During the last recent years, courts of law have relied entirely on DNA testing to determine paternity, so one can imagine what a challenge this was to all involved and it was left in the capable hands of Judge Copeland to assess and find out who would in actual fact support the child. How was this done? It was no easy matter – all the judge could do was to completely rely on Holly Marie’s testimony about positive events that occurred and with whom – and in turn to take note of certain witnesses and checking their sincerity and comparing them with others.
As DNA testing specialists will confirm, the DNA profiles of identical twins cannot be distinguished. This means that even in crimes committed by an identical twin, discovering which twin is responsible could be very challenging. Twin DNA testing can confirm whether twins are identical or fraternal; the results will show exact matching DNA profiles for monozygotic twins.
Lying under Oath
This way might have worked if only Holly Marie hadn’t contradicted herself when under oath on a very significant detail of the case. Firstly she told the court that she and Ramon ended their relationship in August 2003 – this was the same day that they had taken part in a sexual encounter – now this day happens to be exactly the time of the 3-week period of conception. She also told the court that she did not have sexual intercourse with Richard (the other twin) until August 20/22 after the period of conception and also that Richard had in actual fact used a condom at that precise time.
Obviously Ramon appealed saying that there were no reasons whatsoever to choose him over Richard – but maybe the judge was pointing to Ramon, her former boyfriend, thinking that he had more chances to impregnate Holly seeing that Richard was only a one-night-stand.
Richard, whilst admitting he had sexual relationships with Holly stated that there is no way he is the father and claimed that his brother just doesn’t want the financial burden.
Dr Bob Gaensslen said:
‘’There are few things in science that are cut and dried and this is one of them.’’
It was finally decided that Ramon would remain the legal father in Missouri – Judge Copeland stated that this case would go no further and when DNA cannot be definite then you go back to the same evidence that was used before.
Child support – who should be responsible? Personally I think they should share the financial responsibility – after all they both took part…
Further reading: Twin Murder Case Mystery
Atlanta Identical twins Ronald and Donald Smith Murder case: Twin DNA testing Proves Useless. Twin DNA testing can today tell us a lot about the genetic makeup of twins. The DNA profiles of identical twins will be exactly the same whilst the DNA profile of fraternal twins will be different. In the case of identical twins Ronald Smith and Donald Smith, solving a crime case becomes a bit complicated.