A recent announcement by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) stated that it had eliminated a previous backlog of over 90,000 prisoners DNA test results. However, a Florida congressman who had drawn attention to the backlog, while applauding the progress, also noted that the backlog had consisted of 295,000 federal prisoners. DNA samples are now taken at the start of sentences.
According to Representative Vern Buchanan, a Sarasota, Florida Republican, "DNA is an extremely important and effective tool for law enforcement. I will continue to work with the Bureau of Prisons to ensure that DNA evidence is available in a timely manner to help preventviolent crimes in the future."
Congressman Buchanan had become interested in the issue after local police arrested a murder suspect, Delmer Smith III, in 2009. Smith was charged in the slaying of Kathleen Briles in her Terra Ceia home on August 3, 2009, which authorities said could have been prevented had Smith's DNA information been entered into the federal database shortly after he went to prison for bank robbery.
Lack of readily-available DNA !evidence prevented Sarasota police detectives from immediately linking Smith to four other home invasion attacks which had happened prior to Briles' death. Smith's DNA was first linked to the Briles case after it was entered into the FBI database following his arrest for a bar fight in Venice.
According to Congressman Buchanan, "We must remain vigilant in being sure we do not repeat the mistakes that the Bureau of Prisons (made)... Unfortunately, in our community a violent criminal remained at large and was able to keep committing crimes."
Manatee County Sheriff Bard Steube stated," First, we ought to give Congressman Buchanan our gratitude for pushing this issue. It's another tool to help fight crime.
Briles widower, Dr. James Briles, echoed this sentiment, stating that "Hopefully it will help solve some unsolved crimes and keep people safe in the future."
Smith is facing first degree murder and burglary charges in relation to Briles' death, as well as a sexual battery case in Sarasota, Florida.
Source: Bradenton Herald, www.bradenton.com/2011/07/07/
As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.
Already a subscriber? Login