By Kim Minugh
Proposition 69, which requires arrested suspects to submit to DNA tests even when accused of nonviolent crimes, is reaching its intended goal of helping solve cold cases across the state, according to an analysis by the Attorney General's office.
Since the law went into effect in the beginning of 2008, more than 800 matches have been made between the DNA of newly arrested suspects to DNA samples from crime scenes in older cases, the AG's office stated in a news release today.
"Collecting DNA at the time of arrest is cracking cold cases that might have gone unsolved forever," Attorney General Jerry Brown is quoted as saying in the release. "It is particularly significant that individuals arrested for non-violent crimes have been linked to the commission of violent crimes such as murder and rape."
The AG's office looked at 69 DNA matches made over 15 months, the release states. Of those 69 matches, 78 percent involved new DNA samples taken from suspects arrested on suspicion of non-violent crimes, according to the release.
Proposition 69, passed by California voters in 2004, broadened the scope of existing practice in which law enforcement officials collected DNA samples from suspects arrested in connection with violent felony offenses. Now, under the new law, DNA samples are collected from suspects accused of any felony offense, violent or not.
In his release, Brown cited a Sacramento case as evidence of the proposition's success. In 2009, 56-year-old Donald Carter was arrested on a felony drug charge. His DNA sample then was matched to DNA collected in the previously unsolved, 20-year-old murder case of Sophie McAllister, 80.
Carter is awaiting trial.
To see a copy of the study, click below:
Call The Bee's Kim Minugh, (916) 321-1038.