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Feds approve funding to use newest DNA technology to help bring cold cases to court

at the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office, the cold case unit looking into the Rachel Cooke disappearance among other cases would like to have new DNA testing in their tool kit. (CBS Austin)

The feds announce new funding for a plan to use the latest DNA technology on decades-old cases. Supporters say new testing could finally help identify and prosecute a suspect while others say new testing could also clear some inmates who were wrongfully convicted.

Congressman John Carter recalls being a judge in Williamson County when DNA evidence first came into use. He says, “Almost every jury we had on any kind of case, once DNA was in the news, would say where's the DNA evidence?"

Today he returned to his old courtroom to announce new federal funding to help bring cold cases to court. Allison Clayton with the Texas Innocence Project applauds the move. She says, “We know that there is a lot of DNA testing out there that's already been done and these cases are just waiting for a prosecutor to be able to take them and run with them."

Clayton reminded us of the case of Timothy Cole, a Texas Tech student who died in prison for a rape he didn't commit. The DNA technology to prove it wasn’t him wouldn't come for another ten years.

And at the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office, the cold case unit looking into the Rachel Cooke disappearance among other cases would like to have new DNA testing in their tool kit. Chief Deputy Tim Ryle says, “From an investigative standpoint it allows us to eliminate people so we get them off the table."

The point of the new "Justice Served Act" is right in the name. It seeks to help convict the guilty and clear the innocent. Justice served.

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