State officials tout increase in arrests through DNA samples

August 06, 2010|By Brent Jones, The Baltimore Sun

Maryland officials announced Friday the arrests of more than 250 suspects through the use of a DNA database previously backlogged with more than 24,000 samples.

Since 2007, Gov. Martin O'Malley said, the state has significantly decreased the backlog of DNA that had not been entered into the state's database. State officials say 267 arrests have been made since those samples were entered into the system.

At a news conference with Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III and other city and state leaders, O'Malley said 28 of those arrests have led to convictions, including four life sentences.

"Last month we reached a major milestone with 250 arrests of suspected murderers, rapists and other offenders that we were able to charge only because of our ability to knock out that backlog and to be able to get that information to courageous police officers," O'Malley said.

Police cleared the backlog of untested and uncollected DNA samples from convicted felons through additional funding and staffing, O'Malley said.

In 2009, the governor signed into law a bill that required those arrested and charged with violent crimes and burglaries to submit a DNA sample. A large disparity in the number of positive hits and those charged as a result of DNA still remains.

The DNA database was established in 1994.

brent.jones@baltsun.com

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