FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : Monday, February 08, 2016
CONTACT: Sara Rabern (605)773-3215
Attorney General Jackley Reports the Success of the South Dakota DNA Database
PIERRE, S.D.- In 2003, South Dakota legislators established the State DNA Database. Biological samples are taken from individuals arrested for sexual assaults and other qualifying felony crimes. The samples then yield DNA profiles, which are stored with the South Dakota Forensic Lab (SDFL). The SDFL manages this database and works closely with the South Dakota Department of Corrections, regional jails and statewide law enforcement with the collection of biological samples. When DNA samples are obtained from a crime scene or sexual assault, that DNA sample is then run in the DNA Database for potential matches.
“The power of DNA to solve crimes and protect the public is experienced first-hand in South Dakota. The ability to match DNA from a sex offender or violent offender to evidence found at a crime scene is a valuable tool in solving crimes,” said Jackley.
In 2015, 4,839 samples were received from law enforcement and entered into South Dakota’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), a computer database managed by the FBI. To date, there are approximately 56,408 offender DNA profiles that have been entered into CODIS. In 2015, 237 DNA profiles from crime scene evidence were entered into CODIS. There were ultimately 135 CODIS hits, and below are some examples of successful arrests and convictions from the use of the DNA database:
• Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office had an unsolved burglary with no possible suspects. One small drop of blood was recovered from the crime scene. A profile was obtained through a CODIS hit. The individual was arrested for two burglaries in Lawrence County. In addition, he was arrested for two burglaries in Pennington County. This individual was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison. During his interview with a Lawrence County Deputy, he named two co-conspirators who were both arrested and convicted in Pennington County.
• Aberdeen Police Department had a burglary case involving a piece of glass with blood left at the scene. A CODIS hit from the profile indicated the suspect was currently incarcerated on a different charge. Aberdeen PD interviewed the inmate, who confessed to the burglary. He was subsequently charged and convicted for this crime.
• Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office had a no suspect burglary, until a cigarette butt was found at the scene of the crime. A profile was obtained through a CODIS hit on a subject who had been incarcerated for a previous crime. He was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
• Sioux Falls Police Department had a suspect in a homicide case with a known DNA sample. This sample was then entered into CODIS. Minneapolis investigators were able to match this profile to an unsolved rape case that is currently pending.
• Another pending court case involves a sexual assault where a sperm cell profile was established from a swab of the victim’s body that matched an offender whose qualifying arrest was a DUI.