Experts: Kent murder victim's DNA was found on suspect's shoes, shirt

By Dave O'Brien | staff writer Published:

Three forensic scientists testified in Portage County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday that blood and DNA belonging to murder victim Christopher Kernich was found on a T-shirt and shoes belonging to one of his alleged killers, Adrian Barker.

The items, collected by Kent police, tested by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation and the private company LabCorp, based in North Carolina, showed that Kernich contributed DNA to the samples found in six places on Barker's shirt following the Nov. 15, 2009, assault that resulted in Kernich's death six days later at Akron City Hospital.

Kernich, 23, was a native of the Dayton suburb of Fairborn and a KSU business major. Barker, now 25, is a Shaker Heights native and was a University of Akron student at the time. He and his friend Ronald G. Kelly, now 23, were arrested and charged by Kent police with stomping and kicking Kernich to death on East Main Street.

BCI forensic scientist Chad Britton testified that he found blood on Barker's black and white Nike shoes and white, V-neck T-shirt. Tests on those bloodstains revealed Kernich's DNA, BCI forensic scientist Linda Eveleth testified.

Some of that DNA was mixed with that of Barker, Kelly, and Kernich's friend Bradley Chelko, who testified that Kelly and another person assaulted him that night.

Kelly is serving 15 years to life in prison after being convicted of Kernich's murder in 2010.

LabCorp associate technical director Dwayne Winston testified that the odds of the DNA found in two places on Barker's shoes belonging to someone other than Kernich were one in greater than 6.5 billion.

The defense has suggested that it was Jefferson, also clad in a white shirt and with a similar build to Barker on that night, who threw the knockout punch to Kernich, then kicked him to death.

Testimony continues in Judge John Enlow's courtroom at 8:30 a.m. today.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1128 or dobrien@recordpub.com

Facebook: Dave O'Brien, Record-Courier

Twitter: @RCCrimeWatch

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