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Crime Victims & Forensic Science: Partnerships that POP!

Cold Case, Arrestee Statutes, Familial Searching, Justice Review Project and Denver Burglary Project are explained by Mitch Morrissey and Steve Siegel. Powerful Partnerships and victim impacts are the highlight.

Joshua Thurmond

on 1 December 2014

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Transcript of Crime Victims & Forensic Science: Partnerships that POP!

Why is DNA important?
DNA evidence is found in the most violent of crimes.

90% of the victims of crime where DNA evidence is critical are women.

The next largest percentage of victims are children.

The innocent are exonerated.
Why is DNA technology important to
It provides hope.
It provides answers.
It promotes justice.
Byron Gay sexually assaulted three victims in the 1990's.

Gay's DNA was found at a burglary scene as police detectives were reviewing the cold case.

384 years in prison plus three life sentences.

"I get to go home and have my life. I get to watch it snow. I get to watch the sunshine. I get to grow up with my grandbabies," Becky said.

"I want every victim to know there is a chance," Becky said shortly after the jury's verdict was read aloud in court. "There's a good chance that they can get this in their past and they can get at who hurt them."
It took 17 years...
Have a plan ready before you contact victims

Save resources: find witnesses and victims early

Notification per Victim’s Bill of Rights

Partnership! VAs, Detectives, Prosecutors

Keep advocates in "The Know"
Cold Cases and Victims:
Special consideration in regards to revictimization (especially Sexual Assault)
Counseling may be needed
New financial needs
Victim compensation

Awarness of current social situation
Do family members know what happened?
Does the community know?

Reviewed 5,400 cold cases, resulting in 950 submitted lab requests

Tested 633 cases (317 laboratory requests are now pending)

Analyzed 1,300 DNA samples

Submitted 412 DNA profiles to CODIS (198 hits – a
48% hit rate

cases (sexual assaults, sexual assaults on children, homicides, burglary, and kidnapping)
Statutes that require the collection of DNA samples at time of felony arrest or felony filing also known as Katie's Law.
In breaking news...
Real Life Missed Opportunities
Michael Lollis was convicted of nine sexual assaults, six kidnappings, three robberies, and one attempted sexual assault.
If the state had required him to give a DNA sample for his felony forgery arrest in 2004, six subsequent sexual assaults, five kidnappings, three robberies, one burglary, and three attempted sexual assault could have been prevented.
Fewer victims
Cost, time, resource saving
Breaks cycles of violence
Targets repeat criminals
Directly Affects the System, Victim Advocates and Victims

Male Relatives confirmed through Y-STR matching.

Suspect’s DNA is collected (with warrant or from abandoned sample) and matched to original forensic profile.

Profile has no indication of race, creed, color. Only gender can be determined.

Colorado, California, Virginia and Wyoming are now on board.

Denver DA has provided outreach to 27 states.
Police searched the DNA database for a profile of a relative and located the son of Lonnie David Franklin Jr.
Franklin’s DNA was collected from a discarded food item and linked to the murders.
On December 16, 2010, the Los Angeles Police Department released 180 photos of women found in Franklin's home. Police officials released the images after unsuccessful attempts to identify the individuals, possibly additional victims.
Investigators found over 1,000 photos and several hundred hours of video of women in Franklin's home.

Over 5,000 qualifying cases reviewed

Created efficient system for post-conviction review

Locating and determining the condition of evidence in cases early on

Not holding defendants accountable for the actions of their trial attorneys

Instituting a defendant initiated application process.
Franklin was charged with


attempted murder.
He plead not guilty.
Victim of Original Crime
Different kind of revictimization

Renewed social interference and media attention

Possible reemergence of fear, vulnerability, confusion and anger

Victim reenters "cold case" status

Post Conviction Notification
Wrongfully Convicted
Reentry assistance

Additional counseling

System navigation

Consideration for wrongfully convicted Fund
JRP II will allow offenders to petition for review of DNA evidence
Develop Materials For Victims That Explain What's Next...
Contact with Cold Case Victims (Example from VAU handout) :
Here are some helpful things to do when your case becomes active again:

1. Start gathering a support system around you. Strong emotions may surface. You may feel the need to express them and talk about how you feel. It is important to have friends and family around who can listen to you.

2. Have a support person start notifying the people who need to know if you are not up to it.
What's the message we are sending with DNA and real partnerships?
Violent and seriously violent victimization declined by nearly 34% between 2001 and 2010.
BJS National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) 2010
Offenders and would-be offenders will be caught and spend more time in prison.
13.9 years
in prison
with DNA
compared to
1.4 years without
for burglars.
Denver Burglary Project
Using DNA Technology to Fight Crime + Community Partnerships =

Safer Communities and Greater Victim Justice

To date, Denver's Cold Case Unit has...
Collaborate and Communicate!
26 States Now Have "Katie's Law"
How do we do it?
Mitch Morrissey
Steve Siegel
Denver District Attorney
Director, Special Programs Unit
California implemented Familial DNA database searches soon after Colorado with the support of DNA expert and prosecutor Rock Harmon and Governor Jerry Brown.
When all other leads have been exhausted...
Denver Burglary Project
Belief in the System
Jacie Taylor, 19, is found raped and strangled to death in the bathtub of her apartment. Robert Dewey is accused of the crime.
During the trial, experts testify that blood found on Dewey's shirt could be a mixture of Taylor's and Dewey's blood. Questions loom about whether Dewey's blood was already on the shirt and if Taylor's blood is present at all.
October 17, 1996
Robert Dewey goes to prison for life as a complicitor in the rape and murder of Taylor.
Dewey's shirt is retested and Taylor's DNA is not found.

JRP (Denver) find DNA under the victim's fingernails, on a blanket and on the leash used to strangle Taylor point to Douglas Thames.

Dewey is exonerated because prosecutors could not show a connection between Thames and Dewey.

Thames is charged with the murder of Taylor.
William Woody, Special to The Denver Post
Roughly 9200 qualifying inmates have met with a prison case manager.

The JRP II model exceeds the protections the Colorado Victims’ Rights Act provides.

JRP II covers all “violent felony cases.” This includes Murder (1st and 2nd), Assault (1st and 2nd), Kidnapping (1st and 2nd), Aggravated Robbery, Arson (1st), Burglary (1st), Sexual Assault, and Sexual Assault on a Child (only if the child was a stranger to the defendant).
Domestic Violence Center
Doors Open 2013
For the victim...
For the advocate leader...
Community healing
A special thank you to some of my favorite artists:
Andy Warhol
David Hockney
Roy Lichtenstein
Richard Hamilton
Tom Wesselmann
Alex Katz
Prolific rapist caught using new DNA collection law!
He wasn't identified as a suspect in the cases until Jan. 31, 2008, when his DNA was linked to all of the cases.
Because of a law that went into effect in July 2007 that required all Colorado felons to provide DNA samples, Lollis’ DNA had been placed in a nationwide DNA database in 2008 after he was convicted of felony forgery.
Michael Lollis
"I'm really proud on a day like today that one, we caught him, (and) two, he pleaded guilty to 120 years to life," Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey.
Greater Manchester Police
Crime Victims and Forensic Science
Partnerships That Pop!
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