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Judge orders defendant in Schoharie limo crash case to provide DNA

Judge orders defendant in Schoharie limo crash case to provide DNA

Judge orders defendant in Schoharie limo crash case to provide DNA
Nauman Hussain arrives at court in April
Photographer: Peter R. Barber/Gazette Photographer

SCHOHARIE -- The man charged in connection with the October limo crash in Schoharie that killed 20 people must give a DNA sample to prosecutors, a judge ruled this week.

Prosecutors had sought the sample from Nauman Hussain to compare with a peeled-off DOT out-of-service sticker found in Hussain's car after his October arrest. 

An out-of-service sticker had been placed on the crash limo, but was no longer present at the time of the crash, prosecutors contend. Out-of-service stickers had been placed on the limo and two others operated by Hussain about a month prior to the crash.

Prosecutors wanted Hussain's DNA to compare with DNA found on the peeled-off sticker to help determine if he is the one who removed it. Hussain's defense had fought the request.

Schoharie County Court Judge George R. Bartlett, III, issued his order this week and sided with prosecutors. 

"If the people are able to establish that defendant removed a sticker that not only told him but would have warned repair shops, the limousine driver and passengers that the limousine was not permitted on the road, such evidence is clearly relevant to the elements of recklessness and criminal negligence, elements of the charged crimes," Bartlett wrote.

Bartlett ordered Hussain to submit to having a sample taken by June 27.

Hussain, 29, of Cohoes, was indicted in April on 20 counts of second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide, one count of each for every victim. His trial has been delayed until January.

The Oct. 6 crash at the intersection of state routes 30 and 30A killed all 17 passengers inside the limo, the limo driver and two pedestrians in the parking lot of a nearby store. The 17 passengers in the limo were en route from Amsterdam to Cooperstown to celebrate a birthday. 

The limo should never have been on the road, state police have said. 

An earlier defense filing on the DNA arguments cited the state police conclusion on the crash cause. The state police concluded the cause to be "catastrophic brake failure."

Hussain is represented by attorneys Joseph Tacopina and Lee Kindlon. The case is being prosecuted by Schoharie County District Attorney Susan Mallery.

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