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Lawmakers consider bill to expedite DNA testing for those arrested

Posted at 6:37 PM, Apr 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-04 19:37:31-04

TULSA, Okla. — If Senate Bill 184 passes, anyone 18 and older arrested for a felony would have to submit to DNA testing after getting booked into jail.

Many Oklahoma agencies use this system already, but the measure would allow for a newer testing method that can get results in hours instead of weeks.

Tulsa Police officers said any DNA advancements can help. Right now Eddie Majors is tackling about 217 cold cases going back decades.

"You can only test what was collected back then. Of course back in the 80s and the 70s... DNA wasn't even thought of. So you have to go back and look at that evidence, try to locate witnesses... so that's very challenging," Detective Majors said.

Cold case detectives tell 2 Works for You they think about these cases every day, and they're hopeful new technology can make a difference.

"You think about it constantly. It's like, if I go driving outside of the city and I go down highway 51 and old porter road I know in 1979 Lisa Gaskin was murdered at that location. Every time I drive by that I think of her, I think of her family," Majors said.

Some defense attorneys said swabbing inmates cheeks for DNA without due process is a violation of rights.

"If they intend to use those results as part of a prosecution, I think that's a different subject altogether that would implicate the 4th amendment of the constitution regarding unreasonable searches and seizures," Neal Kirkpatrick said.

The bill said DNA samples would be taken out of the system if an arrest does not result in charges.

After passing the senate, 184 is now being considered by the house.

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