State v. McLean, 232 N.C. App. 111 (Jan. 21, 2014)

In a case involving attempted murder and other charges related to a discharge of a firearm, the court held that the trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s pre-trial motion for DNA testing, pursuant to G.S. 15A-267(c), of shell casings recovered from the crime scene. The defendant’s motion indicated that he wanted “to test the shell casings to see if there is any DNA material on the shell casings that may be compared to the Defendant.” The defendant also moved for fingerprint testing on the shell casings. The trial court denied the motion for DNA testing but ordered that the shell casings be subjected to fingerprint testing. The casings were tested and no fingerprints were found. The court determined that the absence of the defendant’s DNA on the shell casings, even if established, would not have a logical connection or be significant to the defendant’s alibi defense. Additionally, the court noted that the purpose of the defendant’s request was to demonstrate the absence of his DNA on the shell casings but the plain language of G.S. 15A-267(c) contemplates DNA testing for ascertained biological material—it is not intended to establish the absence of DNA evidence.