DNA, video leads to trial in Wolfe sisters’ slayings

Allen Darell Wade
This undated photo provided by the Pittsburgh Police shows Allen Darell Wade. (AP Photo/Pittsburgh Police)

PITTSBURGH (AP) – A city man may have to overcome extremely long odds – 13.7 quintillion-to-1 – when he stands trial on charges that he robbed and killed his next-door neighbors, two sisters of an Iowa state lawmaker.

Those are the odds a pair of sweatpants could belong to any other black man except the suspect, 43-year-old Allen Darell Wade, based on DNA found on the waistband, according to lab test results presented by prosecutors at a preliminary hearing Friday.

A city magistrate ruled Wade must stand trial based on the DNA evidence and nine surveillance videos Allegheny County prosecutors believe link Wade to the sweatpants, a vehicle and two bank cards belonging to victims Sarah and Susan Wolfe.

Defense attorney Blaine Jones said his client continues to maintain his innocence but acknowledged he’ll have to overcome long odds if he can’t find an expert to rebut the DNA evidence.

“The one item they believe he was wearing, the probability says it was Mr. Wade’s,” Jones said.

Police have yet to detail a motive for the killings. The victims were sisters of state Rep. Mary Wolfe, a Democrat from Clinton, Iowa. The lawmaker wasn’t at Friday’s hearing, and a handful of supporters didn’t comment or identify themselves.

The sisters were found dead Feb. 7 after they didn’t show up for work. Sarah, 38, was a psychiatrist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, and Susan, 44, a teacher’s aide at a private school.

Two detectives testified, one describing the crime scene and the other a computer expert who compiled clips from video surveillance cameras in the neighborhood where police believe Wade abandoned Sarah Wolfe’s car before walking to an automatic teller machine.

Bank records show both women’s cards were used by a man dressed in a red hooded sweatshirt and gray sweatpants who withdrew $600 using Sarah Wolfe’s card shortly before 1 a.m. Feb. 7.

Video from a transit bus Susan Wolfe rode and records from Sarah Wolfe’s work and the sisters’ home alarm system suggests both women were safely home by 9:40 p.m. Feb. 6, investigators said.

The face of the ATM user was covered by a T-shirt, but another clip shows a man in similar clothes behind a car repair shop, discarding sweatpants that look like those later found to contain Wade’s DNA.

Minutes later, a man who looks like Wade bought cigarettes a convenience store. His face can be seen and he’s wearing different clothes, except for white shoes, one of which had a dangling strap. The dangling strap also appeared on white shoes worn by the person in the red hooded shirt, which is why police believe both images are Wade.

The man at the convenience store was also seen throwing something into a trash container where police later found a pen from the “Iowa State Prison.” Police believe that came from the Wolfe home, though tests for DNA and other clues were pending.

Both women were shot once in the head but had also been badly beaten in the face and other parts of their bodies.

The sisters were found in their basement. Sarah Wolfe was still clothed and was found beneath a blue blanket, which had a bullet hole surrounded by powder burns. The pinky finger of her left hand, which was raised near her head, also had powder burns, Detective Harry Lutton testified.

Susan Wolfe was found naked, her body doused in detergent and bleach. Detergent was also found on Sarah Wolfe, but only on her crotch area, Lutton said.





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