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Unsolved Cases: M’sian Twin Brothers Escape Death Penalty Because Their DNA Were Too Similar

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Unsolved Cases: Twin Brothers Escaped Death Penalty Because Their DNAs Were Too Similar - WORLD OF BUZZ 9
Source: Newsbook / Genetic Literacy Project

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Malaysia has had its fair share of interesting crime cases and today, we’re going crack open the most mysterious case in Malaysia, which involves a pair of twins. Many of us may have overlooked this case but it remains bizarre because people still can’t wrap their heads around how these brothers dodged a death penalty just by having similar DNA.

So, without further ado, here’s a breakdown on the unsolved mystery of R. Sathis and R. Sabarish’s case, which left everyone baffled, including the authorities.

The Bizarre Case of the Twin Siblings, R. Satish & R. Sabarish

  • The Arrest 

You may be wondering, how did the authorities decide to close a serious case ten years ago, which often results in the mandatory death penalty, without convicting a criminal?

Before the court proceedings took place, the brothers were first arrested (along with their other brother, R. Deva Raj) and charged with two counts of trafficking in 166,336gm of cannabis and 1,762gm of raw opium. The confusion over the two brothers began when the arresting officer, Chief Inspector N. Sekaran couldn’t tell the twins apart and he couldn’t recognise the first twin.

Unsolved Cases: Twin Brothers Escaped Death Penalty Because Their DNAs Were Too Similar - WORLD OF BUZZ

Source: Illuminasi

Natheless, Kpl Mohamad Sidek Paiman – an officer from the arresting team – identified the one wearing spectacles as the first twin but the doubt still remained. This is mainly because during the time of arrest, the brothers weren’t wearing spectacles and Sidek only said that he could only tell them apart by the shirts they wore on that day.

  • Judgement Day 

Fast forward, five years after the infamous arrest, the twins were acquitted of all charges due to the lack of evidence. As a result of that, the twins escaped a death penalty. Even DNA results couldn’t solve the case because the brothers share very similar DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). Thus, the police couldn’t figure out which brother was the actual culprit behind the crime. To top it all off, the twins didn’t tell on each other! 

Judge Zaharah, who was on duty that particular day said,

“My job, as required by the law, is to determine whether the prosecution has succeeded in establishing a prima facie against the two accused. In this case, both are identical twins. Arresting officer Chief Insp N. Sekaran, when identifying the first twin, was sceptical but when asked by counsel, said that he needed some time and yet was still not so sure when identifying the first twin.”

Unsolved Cases: Twin Brothers Escaped Death Penalty Because Their DNAs Were Too Similar - WORLD OF BUZZ 1

Source: Newsbook

Unwilling to send the wrong person to jail, Judge Zaharah finally acquitted the brothers of their crime on 7th February 2009, five years later. After they were freed of all charges, the twins cried and hugged each other in relief, but till today the case remains unsolved.

Similar cases all over around world

The inability to identify between two identical siblings isn’t uncommon because there are many similar cases all around the world. Here are some similar cases:

  • Tyrone & Jerome Cooper

In Michigan, 1999, two brothers were arrested for allegedly hitting an 18-year-old female on the head and raping her. Both brothers, Tyrone & Jerome Cooper have criminal records but they denied raping the girl. The police thought that the criminal would eventually come around and surrender himself to ensure his innocent brother will not be blamed for the crime, but it was merely wishful thinking.

Unsolved Cases: Twin Brothers Escaped Death Penalty Because Their DNAs Were Too Similar - WORLD OF BUZZ 2

Source: BBC

They even put the brothers in one cell to see if they would accidentally slip the truth out, but it was to no avail because they only engaged in small talk. Until today, the girl hasn’t been given justice because the authorities couldn’t figure out which one of the brothers is the rapist.

  • Orlando & Brandon Nembhard

Orlando Nembhard was charged with the murder of 19-year-old Sir Xavier Brooks. He was shot and killed right outside a nightclub in Arizona on 12th February 2011. The case was finally closed after the defendant’s lawyer argued that the identity of the killer could have been mistaken.

Unsolved Cases: Twin Brothers Escaped Death Penalty Because Their DNAs Were Too Similar - WORLD OF BUZZ 3

Source: ABC

The lawyer’s argument opened a possibility that Brandon (Orlando’s twin brother) could have been the killer, and just like that, the lawyer created a rift in the case. Even though Brandon doesn’t have a criminal record – unlike Orlando who has a long-standing criminal record -, the case remained unsolved because they couldn’t genetically separate the brothers.

  • Elwin & Yohan

In 2012, France woke up to the shocking news of six women being raped in Marseille and evidence led to two people – a set of twins named Elwin & Yohan. When one of the victims was asked to identify the perpetrator, but she couldn’t single out between the twins.

Unsolved Cases: Twin Brothers Escaped Death Penalty Because Their DNAs Were Too Similar - WORLD OF BUZZ 4

Source: BBC

Therefore, the twins were taken into custody, but what’s interesting is that both of them denied the felony and didn’t rat out each other. However, there’s a twist to this case because the authorities could actually figure out the criminal thanks to the rapid growth of technology, but the process would cost a fortune.

 

Do twins actually have similar DNAs?

Yes, they do have similar DNAs but recent research has proven that they’re not genetically identical. They have the same DNA because they are formed with the same sperm and egg. 

A study – American Journal of Human Genetics – proved that there’s a slight difference in the genetic patterns of twins. The researchers tested 19 pairs of twins, and they found out that there are DNA segments which might exist in one twin and not the other. Therefore, this research proves that twins do have similar DNA but not identical.

Well, isn’t that interesting? 

That said, Satish and Sabarish’s case is probably Malaysia’s most interesting case because of its nail-biting plot twist. Not only that but many people have called these brothers intelligent criminals for using their similar DNA to their advantage and dodging a death penalty. I think we all can agree on that. 

On that note, what other Malaysian criminal cases would you like us to cover? Drop your opinions in the comments section below.

 

Also read: 40 Years Ago Today: The Tragic Murder of A M’sian Ex-Beauty Queen That Was Never Solved

40 Years Ago Today: The Unsolved Murder of Ex-Beauty Queen That Still Baffles M'sians - WORLD OF BUZZ 1

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