King County Superior Court Judge Sharon Armstrong ruled that police did not violate John Athan's privacy or other rights by sending the New Jersey man a phony letter saying he was eligible for money in a class-action lawsuit over parking tickets. Athan responded to the letter -- and licked an envelope, leaving saliva that provided his DNA.
That DNA was matched to evidence from the 1982 killing of 13-year-old Kristen Sumstad, whose body was found dumped in a box behind a Seattle store.
Athan's attorney had asked the judge to either throw out the DNA evidence or dismiss the case. Armstrong refused. She agreed that the police broke the law by pretending to be lawyers, but said police are allowed to do that to catch criminals.
The judge also found that while people may expect their letters to be private, that expectation doesn't apply to the envelope they use.
Athan's attorney says he will appeal.