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DNA from watch could lead to man doing time

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POSTED March 21, 2009 5:39 a.m.
RIPON — The loss of a wristwatch in November of 2007 put a Ripon armed robbery suspect back in jail this week.

Kenneth Neil Hammond Jr., 25, of Stockton was booked into the San Joaquin County Jail on the parole hold and the year and a half old armed robbery charges.  It was a no-bail situation because of the state parole hold which probably will send him back to prison.

The clerks at the Chevron gas station in the 300 block of East Main Street told Ripon Police officers that the robber entered the station shortly before 6 a.m. and pointed a handgun at them, telling them to give him the money or he would kill them.

After allegedly taking money from the clerks, the robber lost his wrist watch while scaling a fence toward the freeway.  Wearing a mask, gloves and a hoodie didn’t prevent him from leaving his own DNA at the scene of the crime – on the back of his watch.

Ripon officer Gordon West had located the watch – taking it to the California Department of Justice (DOJ) lab in Ripon for DNA analysis and tracking – a possible suspect was identified.

Hammond had an earlier 2004 armed robbery arrest in Ripon, and was serving time in a state correctional facility in Shafter.  Detectives went to the prison and obtained a fresh DNA sample from the suspect giving them a perfect match, confirmed by the Department of Justice.

Between the time they took the sample and getting its results, Hammond was released from prison.  Detectives Anthony DeMarinis and Josh Sweeten located him in Stockton.  They took  him into custody without incident.
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