Testimony Heard on Bill That Could Potentially Saves Lives by Using DNA
Testimony was heard in Augusta today on a bill that could potentially save lives by using DNA. Some say it will also save the state money. “We know that DNA is a very sound science. We know that DNA is truth and I believe what is important is finding the truth.”Jayann Sepich’s daughter Katie was murdered in New Mexico in 2003. Since her daughter’s death, she has been traveling across the United States, convincing lawmakers to pass Katie’s Bill. The bill would require law enforcement officials to collect DNA samples from persons arrested for certain crimes. The law passed in New Mexico in 2006, shortly after Katie’s killer was arrested and convicted. “The man that killed our daughter was arrested for burglary three months after he murdered her, but we didn’t have the law then. Consequently it was 3 1/2 years after she was murdered that he was convicted of a crime and his DNA was taken and that’s when we got the match.” Now, there’s a push to get Katie’s bill passed in Maine. “There is no question it won’t only save lives because we’ve seen that in 24 other states. But it will also exonerate some people who are in prison who shouldn’t be and in the long run it will save us money.” District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau says the bill would help him greatly. “One thing that prosecutors are quite aware of is that as a result of what we often call the CSI effect, the jurors in our cases expect to hear about things like DNA analysis.” For Sepich, this bill doesn’t take the pain of the loss of her daughter away. But it provides some closure. Something she wants other families to have. “We know the power it has to save lives and prevent crimes. Its really most valuable if it can be passed in every state.” The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted to pass the bill 8-5. It now faces votes in the House and Senate.