Crime

DNA results, ‘ultimate question’ raised in day 3 of Bellefonte dentist’s trial

Former Bellefonte dentist Wade Newman is charged with four felony counts of rape, criminal attempt at rape, sexual assault and kidnapping and two misdemeanor charges of indecent assault. He was arraigned by District Judge Kelley Gillette-Walker on Friday, March 31, 2017.
Former Bellefonte dentist Wade Newman is charged with four felony counts of rape, criminal attempt at rape, sexual assault and kidnapping and two misdemeanor charges of indecent assault. He was arraigned by District Judge Kelley Gillette-Walker on Friday, March 31, 2017. Centre Daily Times, file

The trial for the former owner of Bellefonte Family Dentistry and president of the Pennsylvania Dental Association accused of kidnapping and raping a patient continued on Wednesday.

Wade Newman, 48, allegedly drove a sedated female patient to a root canal appointment he arranged at State Endodontics in October 2016. Spring Township police said Newman drove the woman back to her residence — although she asked to be driven back to her mother's residence — after the procedure, which is where the rape allegedly occurred.

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Newman is charged with four felonies — rape, criminal attempt at rape, sexual assault and kidnapping — and two misdemeanor counts of indecent assault.

Katherine Cross, a forensic biologist at Guardian Forensic Services deemed to be a DNA expert, testified about her DNA analysis of the woman's rape kit.

Cross testified one part of the analysis matched Newman's DNA to a 1 in 7 trillion chance it was a different person.

"The conclusion is that these samples are from Wade Newman," Cross testified. "It is my opinion that the male DNA from these samples is Wade Newman."

Harry Kamerow — a pathologist deemed to be an expert in toxicology and as to whether a person can give informed consent to a sexual encounter while under the influence of drugs — was asked Deputy District Attorney Sean McGraw's "ultimate question."

"Do you have an opinion within a reasonable degree of medical and scientific certainty if (the woman) was able to give informed consent to a sexual encounter with Wade Newman?" McGraw asked.

"No. She didn't think well enough to give consent," Kamerow testified.

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Fran Gengo, a clinical pharmacologist deemed to be an expert on informed consent like Kamerow, disagreed.

Gengo testified he used a formula based on the woman's age, gender, weight and other demographic information to determine the concentration of the sedative drugs at the time of the sexual encounter, which occurred about 110 minutes after she received her last dose of medication.

"It's my opinion that, at the time of the sexual encounter, the concentrations of (the drugs) would've dissipated so low they would not have precluded her from being able to consent to a sexual encounter," Gengo testified.

Gengo also testified about the differences between signs and symptoms.

Signs are observed objectively, but symptoms are dependent on what a patient relays. He added that Kamerow was not present at the time of the encounter, so he would not have been aware of the signs. The symptoms, meanwhile, are dependent on what the woman remembers and her veracity, according to Gengo's testimony.

"I can't tell you what was cooked at a campfire based on the ashes," Gengo testified. "I do not see reliable medical or scientific evidence upon which I can conclude she would have been impaired to the point of not being able to give informed consent."

On Gengo's cross-examination, McGraw asked him about the literature and published research he based his formula on.

McGraw read an excerpt from the article, which said the results were predicated on a healthy, 48 kilogram patient. Gengo agreed a physician would not deem the woman healthy, but testified that her medical history would not have affected the results of his report.

"Nothing in her medical history would have influenced these medical simulations," Gengo testified.

McGraw also questioned Gengo about his pecuniary interests.

Gengo testified he was paid $1,750 for his initial review of the case, about $2,400 to write his initial report, about $3,000 to write a second report upon Trialonas' request and $5,000 for one day out of his office.

Trialonas responded by asking if Gengo works for free.

"No," Gengo testified. "Only for my kids."

The trial is scheduled to conclude Thursday.

A sexual assault evidence kit contains forensic evidence gathered from a victim's body during an intrusive, hours-long examination. Testing kits can find DNA evidence used to identify rapists, boost prosecutions or exonerate the falsely accused.

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