The Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled today that Christopher Kostka can be ordered to provide a DNA sample that could rule him out as a possible suspect in the 2012 stabbing murder of Barbara Coyne - but bolster the case against his twin brother, Timothy.
The Suffolk County District Attorney's office says that it needs the DNA sample to see if the two are fraternal twins, rather than identical ones. And if they are fraternal, then the case against Timothy Kostka can continue, based on DNA recovered from under Coyne's fingernails and on a jewelry box in her bedroom.
In its ruling, the state's second highest court agreed with a Superior Court judge who had found Christopher Kostka in contempt for refusing to allow his mouth to be swabbed for DNA, under a 2006 Supreme Judicial Court decision in a case with similar issues.
In that ruling, the court held that apparent third parties not charged with a crime could be compelled to provide a DNA sample if prosecutors showed probable cause that a serious crime had been committed and if they could show the evidence they expect would directly relate to the suspect's possible guilt.
In the Kostka case, the appeals court ruled the fact that Timothy Kostka had been indicted for armed robbery and murder was probable cause enough and that a DNA sample was the only way to ensure the DNA found at the crime scene was Timothy Kostka's and not his brother's.