Oklahoma State Senate
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: March
Senator Jonathan Nichols
Senate Approves Bill Expanding DNA Database
In a show of bipartisan support, the State Senate
has approved a measure that could help law enforcement identify
suspects in unsolved murder, rape and other criminal cases. Senator
Nichols is principal author of SB 646. He said the measure would
expand the state’s DNA database to include all convicted felons.
“It wasn’t that long ago that law enforcement didn’t
have DNA to help solve crimes—it has changed everything and
has made it possible to identify suspects years after a case has
gone cold. It’s going to help us keep law abiding citizens
safer by making sure those guilty of these heinous crimes are found,
prosecuted and put away,” said Nichols, R-Norman.
Senate Bill 646 was requested by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation
(OSBI.) When the database was originally started, it only included
those convicted of sex offenses. Other crimes were later added,
but most of those were violent offenses as well. OSBI Spokesperson
Jessica Brown said the inclusion of more kinds of criminals would
mean more cases would likely be solved.
“A lot of times people who start out committing non-violent
crimes escalate into violence. Peeping Toms, for example, can escalate
into rape and sometimes homicide. Since 2001, when the offender
database went into effect in Oklahoma, we’ve solved 79 cases,
with 63 of those in the past year. Part of that is due to the addition
of other crimes, such as burglary, which was only added in the past
couple of years,” Brown said.
Nichols agreed the inclusion of additional crimes, such as first
and second degree burglary, has already helped lead to arrests in
cold cases. He noted the recent charges filed in the 1996 murder
of University of Oklahoma ballet student Juli Buskin. The suspect
had been incarcerated on a second degree burglary charge, but law
enforcement said his DNA matched samples from the crime scene.
“DNA is the most important crime fighting tool we have—increasing
our database will enable us to use this science to solve even more
crimes and make sure those individuals responsible are not free
to continue preying on innocent Oklahomans,” Nichols said.
The measure now moves to the House of Representatives for further
Senate Communications Office - (405) 521-5774