‘Katie’s Law’ introduced in both chambers
It has been a decade since a young woman was brutally murdered in New Mexico, a crime that went unsolved for three years. Katie Sepich’s parents believe the person who murdered their daughter could have been brought to justice sooner had a sample of his DNA from previous arrests been available to law enforcement offi cials.
From that incident came “Katie’s Law,” promoted by her parents, and now in force in some form in nearly half the states in the nation.
Legislation to enact a “Katie’s Law” in Rhode Island has again this year been introduced in both chambers, sponsored by Sen. David E. Bates and Rep. Brian Patrick Kennedy. Both legislators say they believe the use of DNA sampling as an investigative tool has been well documented and that expanding it in Rhode Island to include those arrested for felonies and crimes of violence will help law enforcement solve crimes and prosecute more violent criminals.
Like most other states, Rhode Island statutes currently require collection of a DNA sample from individuals who are convicted of a felony.
Under the legislation introduced by the two legislators, DNA samples would be collected from individuals arrested for crimes of violence. The collected DNA samples would be included in the Rhode Island DNA database to be administered by the FBI’s index system, which allows for the storage and exchange of DNA records submitted by state and local forensic laboratories for the identification or exclusion of individuals who are the subject of criminal investigations or prosecutions.