By Albemarle Sheriff J.E. “Chip” Harding 11/17/2014 Press Release [pages 1and 2][support data & notes follow]
I have been advocating for several years that Virginia should expand our DNA Databank to include all criminal convictions. Currently our databank mostly includes convicted felons.
Every day we wait to expand the Virginia’s DNA Databank, we risk one of our loved ones falling victim to an attack from a violent predator that could have been prevented and a person wrongly convicted sits in prison.
- New York State Governor Cuomo recently championed the initiative and it allowed his state to be the first to have an all criminal conviction databank. He pointed out that: In the 5 ½ years since petit larceny-the pettiest of crimes-has been a DNA eligible offense in N.Y. State , convicted offender samples have helped solve 965 crimes, including 51 murders, 222 sexual assaults, 177 robberies and 407 burglaries. DNA samples taken from individuals convicted of second-degree criminal trespass have been linked to 30 homicides, 110 sexual assaults and 121 burglaries, among other crimes.
On average, offenders linked to crimes in N.Y. State had three prior non-qualifying convictions before finally being convicted of an offense that required a DNA sample to be taken. My observation over my past 40 years in Virginia’s Justice System is the same. One can check the record of almost any Virginia serial predator and see the same –some examples are:
- Hannah Graham would have never met her accused abductor Jesse Matthew if his DNA had been collected when he was convicted of criminal trespass in Charlottesville in August of 2010. His DNA would have generated a “hit” at that time in the databank to the 2005 sexual assault in Fairfax. (Washington Post reports lab certificate on file in Fairfax Court) If convicted of that attack he most likely would have been in a jail cell at the time Hannah was walking on the Charlottesville Downtown mall.