While civil libertarians have objected to states' widening of DNA sampling (in many states, all convicted of felonies and misdemeanors are sampled and some states sample all arrestees), it's just such laws that led to the solving of the 1994 murder of a college student in Alaska, The Boston Globe reports.
New Hampshire doesn't require DNA samples from all convicted felons - it's just one of seven states that doesn't - but in 2002, it passed a law requiring DNA from state prisoners convicted of violent crimes. One Kenneth Dion, 37, was serving time in New Hampshire for armed robbery. But for that law, the Globe says, the Alaska case would still be cold. Dion's DNA matched that taken from the crime scene.
In Alaska, the case is giving strength to a case for a bill to require DNA collection of anyone arrested for a felony or a crime against another person. In New Hampshire, the fact that Dion wasn't tested for two years after his incarceration is giving rise to pressure to speed up the sampling process. More than 1,200 violent offenders have been entered, but there is a backlog of 450, said Melissa Staples, assistant director of the New Hampshire Crime Lab.
Strafford County Assistant Attorney Tom Velardi, who prosecuted Dion in 2002, said the case highlights the need to speed up the entry of samples into the database.