Jameis Winston, the Florida State star freshman quarterback, has been linked to the accuser in a criminal sexual case by DNA evidence compiled by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
The DNA analysis matched the sample taken from the underwear of a woman who has accused him of sexual battery.
ESPN.com viewed a DNA analysis report Wednesday indicating that the Florida state crime lab determined that the chances of the DNA in the woman’s underwear are a match for someone other than Winston is 1 in 2.2 trillion.
Police obtained a sexual assault kit on Dec. 7, 2012, when the accuser reported the alleged incident had occurred at an off-campus apartment. Winston’s DNA was recently obtained through a buccal swab he provided to authorities investigating the case.
The DNA match alone does not prove that Winston, a leading Heisman Trophy candidate, sexually assaulted the woman, as the accuser’s family claimed in a statement released by a Tampa-based attorney on Wednesday. But it does indicate that Winston, who has yet to talk to Tallahassee police or the state attorney investigating the case, had his DNA associated with the accuser on Dec. 7, 2012, when the accuser claimed she was sexually assaulted.
William Meggs, the state attorney for the 2nd Judicial Circuit, said his office is still investigating the case, which was only referred to his office by Tallahassee police last week.
“Everybody wants to know what’s going on,” Meggs said earlier Wednesday. “So do we. We’re in the process of trying to figure out what’s going on. We haven’t determined how it’s going to turn out.”
Meggs said: “I’m pretty confident, as much as anybody can be. There are two kinds of evidence: testimonial and physical. We’ll have what we have at the end of the day and then we’ll evaluate what we have.”
On Wednesday night, Tallahassee interim police chief Tom Coe said the accuser stopped cooperating with police in February. A statement released earlier Wednesday by the accuser’s family through her attorney, Patricia Carroll of Tampa, said Tallahassee police warned the accuser not to pursue the case, saying Det. Scott Angulo told Carroll, “Tallahassee was a big football town and the victim needs to think long and hard before proceeding against him because she will be raked over the coals and her life will be made miserable.”
Coe contends Tallahassee police made the case inactive only after the accuser stopped communicating with them. Coe told the Tallahassee Democrat on Tuesday that the police department reviewed the case after media outlets filed open records requests for the case file. Coe said the open records requests alone couldn’t change a case from open-inactive to open-active, but that new evidence or leads would have to be found to change the investigation’s status.
“In February 2013, the case was classified as open, but inactive, when the victim in the case broke off contact with TPD, and her attorney indicated she did not want to move forward at that time,” Coe said.
In a statement released to the Tampa Bay Times on Wednesday, the accuser’s attorney said, “It was never the intent of the victim or the family for this to become public,” but went on to provide a scathing review of the police’s handling of the case.
The woman accusing Winston initially reported the incident Dec. 7, 2012. Coe said police investigated the incident, taking witness testimony and collecting evidence.
According to Jansen, who has been representing Winston, police approached him about the case in February, but soon after assured him the case was no longer being investigated. Jansen said he reported that to both Winston and Florida State.
When records requests from multiple media outlets were made to Tallahassee police last week, investigators re-examined the case and forwarded it to the state attorney’s office. Meggs is currently reviewing the case and will decide whether charges will be brought against a potential suspect.
Meggs told ESPN.com on Wednesday that he probably will not take the case before a grand jury, saying his office would ultimately decide whether it believes it has sufficient evidence to charge Winston with a crime.
“I’m not stupid,” Meggs said. “It is a young man whose life is in a fish bowl right now. I think about that. There’s also a young girl whose life has been turned upside down and her life will never be the same, either. We look at it and say, ‘Which one of those is most important?’ Both. It is a search for the truth and the truth is kind of elusive sometimes.”
Carroll’s statement also said police failed to do a proper investigation, did not collect blood work or DNA samples from Winston, and refused to interview Winston’s roommate, who the accuser says witnessed the attack. The statement also criticized police for approaching Winston’s attorney in February with details of the case.
Coe did not specifically contradict any of the claims made in the accuser’s statement but said, “There are many statements being made daily, some of which are factual, some are not factual. We can’t go into detail on that tonight, but there will be a point in time when we can comment on those issues.”