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Suspect charged with last year's burglaries

Prosecutors say forensic evidence ties Keoki C. Cunningham, 37, to the scene of two Juneau crimes

Posted: September 18, 2012 - 5:53pm  |  Updated: September 19, 2012 - 12:04am

A suspect has been charged with burglarizing two businesses in Juneau after blood taken from the crime scenes matched a DNA profile in a state/national database.

Prosecutors say Keoki C. Cunningham, 37, left behind a bloody fingerprint at a painting contractors building in the Lemon Creek area and blood specks at a storage unit facility on Glacier Highway, both of which were burglarized last August.

Police collected the blood samples, submitted them to the Alaska State Crime Detection Laboratory and discovered they matched Cunningham’s DNA profile in the Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS for short, according to an affidavit. CODIS links local and state law enforcement agencies, through their crime labs, to a national repository for the DNA profiles from all 50 states.

Cunningham was indicted by a grand jury on Friday, accused of breaking into Vanpool Painting and Space Unlimited, Inc. on or between Aug. 18 and 22, 2011.

According to an affidavit, David Vanpool reported to the Juneau Police Department on Aug. 21 that the front window of his business, located at 5456 Jenkins Drive, had been shattered. Vanpool also reported a compound hunting bow, valued at approximately $700, missing; the company truck rifled; and someone had tried to kick down the door of a storage unit, the affidavit states.

Vanpool later that evening found a bloody fingerprint on a bill in the Vanpool Painting office, which he reported to police. The sample was collected as evidence by police and then sent to the crime lab, according to the charging document.

The next day, Aug. 22, 2011, Gary Jenkins, who is affiliated with Space Unlimited, Inc. reported various items stolen. The affidavit states a JPD officer responded to the scene and found a speck of blood inside a camper door, and a second speck on a cabinet.

Jenkins also reported that a wall-mounted thermometer and a First-Aid kit had been stolen. The total reported value of the stolen items was $190, and the total value of the damaged property was about $377, the affidavit states.

Police received the results from the Crime Lab on July 9, which prosecutors say indicated Cunningham “could not be excluded as the source of the DNA” from either of the samples collected.

Cunningham is facing felony burglary and theft charges, and if convicted, he could face up to 15 years in prison.

He is currently being held in custody at Lemon Creek Correctional Center on $1,000 bond, said Assistant District Attorney Amy Williams. Court records show Cunningham pleaded not guilty in court on Tuesday, and a trial was set for December.

Court records indicate Cunningham has several prior misdemeanor convictions for domestic violence assault, weapons misconduct, larceny, resisting and criminal trespass.

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.

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