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DNA could help solve 5-year-old Toronto robbery case

Updated: Tuesday, June 24 2014, 06:34 PM EDT
JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ohio – A 5-year-old case of a robbery of a Toronto pharmacy finally made its way to trial Tuesday.
Now a jury will decide if Ryan Straker is, or is not, the man who walked into the business with a weapon demanding pills.
It's a 2009 case that had been on hold for years because a lack of evidence, but investigators finally caught a break and were able to connect DNA evidence to a suspect last year.
Now it could come down to a sweatshirt, which was presented in court Tuesday. The prosecution is looking to prove that Straker ditched the hoodie in a dumpster in November 2009 after robbing the Toronto Apothecary Pharmacy.
“He had a gun, had a hood on, something like on his face here,” witness Dorothy Pavelka said. “He said, ‘I want methadone.’ ”
In all, the prosecution is slated to call about a dozen witnesses to the stand, including a pharmacy technician who was working the morning of the incident.
“He's like, ‘This is no joke, you have 10 seconds to give me a bottle,’ and then Jim actually threw it to the guy and walked out,” pharmacy technician Tracy Rex said.
The jury heard the accounts and also reviewed surveillance footage.
And while one witness claimed for certain Straker is the man responsible, defense attorney Steve Stickles argued that several of the witnesses didn't seem so sure years ago when they provided written statements to police.
“Anywhere do you give mention seeing an individual in blue jeans?” Stickles asked. “In that statement, do you give mention that you could recognize that individual later if asked to point him out? No.”
Jurors also heard from a man who says he saw the suspect tossing the sweatshirt in the dumpster, and from a former friend of the suspect who says he heard Straker tell him he committed the crime.
That witness will likely talk more Wednesday as the trial trickles into Day 2.
Witnesses from the Bureau of Criminal Investigation are expected to testify then, as both sides will dive even deeper into the DNA evidence in this case.
Stick with NEWS9 and for the latest updates on this trial.

DNA could help solve 5-year-old Toronto robbery case

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