Family of Redding lawyer killed in crash demands new DNA testing

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REDDING -

The family of a Redding lawyer who was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head after his car crashed in 2014 is demanding new DNA results be collected from first responders in the case.

Abe Dabela's family insists the Redding Police Department's ruling of their son's death as a suicide doesn't add up.

A state medical examiner report showed that Dabela's DNA was not found on the trigger of the firearm allegedly used in the shooting.

Redding Police ruled the death a suicide only hours after the incident.  Months later, the state medical examiner agreed with the finding.

However, Dabela's family filed a lawsuit against the town back in 2016 and has now filed a new motion to gather new DNA from eight first responders who were at the scene.

According to court documents, the town agreed to collect DNA from eight firefighters, but only collected DNA from six.

One DNA result submitted to the state didn't match any of the firefighters employed by the town, but instead matched a woman who may be related to one of them.

"We want to make sure that the results, or any results, that come back from any DNA testing are, in fact, true results," says the family's attorney, Xavier Donaldson.

Donaldson tells News 12, they are demanding an independent lab come in and re-test the firefighters.

News 12 has reached out to the attorney representing the town of Redding and is waiting to hear back. But in a recent court filing, the attorney said new DNA tests would be an "undue burden" and that the "requested samples have already been provided and tested."

"That's the worst-case fear, that something nefarious happened to him," Donaldson said. "That he was out there driving his car, something happened, and somebody shot him the back of the head. That's the worst-case fear."

Last year, the state's attorney ruled there was no evidence Dabela died of a homicide, but he never offered any evidence to support that finding.     

A hearing on the DNA is scheduled next month.

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