DNA evidence in stabbing could get husband off hook

On the eve of his murder trial, a routine DNA test has revealed new evidence that may exonerate a Daly City man accused of stabbing his wife to death while the couple’s young children were in the next room.

Biological evidence found on the handle of the murder weapon belongs not to Quincy Norton, who is charged with killing Tamika Mack-Norton in 2006, but to his mistress, said Patricia Fox, Norton’s attorney.

Prosecutors submitted the new evidence Wednesday after obtaining a saliva swab from Anitra Johnson on March 24. Johnson had previously been charged as an accessory in Tamika Mack-Norton’s death, butthose charges were later dropped in a plea deal, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

The new DNA evidence “is an interesting development to say the least. We were aware there was biological material that belonged to a female but that female was unidentified until last week,” Fox said.

Deputy District Attorney Al Giannini said there are no plans to drop charges against Norton or to file charges against Johnson.

“I am sure the defense would like everyone to believe this is startling evidence. It is one piece of evidence which needs to be considered in comparison with the rest of the evidence. Our position has not changed and we’re still confident in the charges that are being brought against Mr. Norton,” he said.

Johnson’s DNA was tested simply to eliminate her as a suspect, Giannini said. It was a low priority in the case since prosecutors believed the likelihood of finding the evidence was small, he said.

Prosecutors say Norton fatally stabbed his wife, a 31-year-old registered nurse, in their home on July 22, 2006, after learning Mack-Norton planned to divorce him. After the killing, he allegedly dropped their three children off at a friend’s house before fleeing. He was arrested five weeks later in San Jose. Norton fled after the killing because he feared being jailed again for a crime he did not commit, Fox said.

Johnson, who also has a child with Norton, was suspected to have helped him escape by sheltering him and giving him a car. Charges of aiding and abetting Norton were later dropped in exchange for her no contest plea to two counts of felony check fraud in a separate case.

Norton had also previously abused his wife, prosecutors said. But Fox said his previous domestic violence charge stems from an incident in which Johnson beat Mack-Norton.

Johnson’s attorney, Michael DeVoy, did not return calls for comment by press time. Norton’s case resumes Wednesday with pre-trial motions.

tbarak@examiner.com

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