DNA evidence presented in decades old murder cold case

Apparent Koons rape kit damaged by bugs

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - In January, 1979 18-year-old Dawn Ellen Koons was brutally murdered in her apartment in south Bakersfield.

Today 60-year-old Prentice Foreman is facing a death penalty case for the rape and murder of Koons, but his public defenders are working hard to invalidate evidence during a preliminary hearing.

On day two of Prentice Foreman's hearing at times the man accused of murder nearly 40 years ago examined evidence with thin black eye-glasses. 

At times he rested his head in his hands and closed his eyes, while prosecutor Gina Pearl continued to present witnesses in the murder case of Koons.

Several main points came out of Tuesday's testimony.

First, the most recent Bakersfield Police Detective on the case Chance Koener, described the apartment complex where Foreman and Koons lived in 1979.

He said the S Real Road complex is essentially the same in layout today. 

Witnesses testified that Prentice Foreman lived in apartment 50 in 1979, and Dawn Koons lived only a few steps away in apartment 46.

The prosecution hopes to establish at the time a black male--Foreman--was harassing Koons around her apartment.

But Kern County Forensic Lab Technician Carol Williams' testimony took up most of the day.

Williams testified she was the one who discovered semen in Koons' vaginal swab from all those years ago. 

However on cross-examination, Williams acknowledged part of the apparent 1979 rape kit had visible insect damage at some point over the years.

Prosecution was quick to point out important DNA samples were not affected.

Foreman will be in court again Wednesday and the prosecution is expected to bring testimony from the Coroner's Office.

But there was one challenging point repeated Tuesday: no one present for the original autopsy of Dawn Koons in 1979 is alive today to testify about it.

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