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House Advances DNA Measure

(OKLAHOMA CITY) - Legislation that eliminates the statute of limitations for rape and some other sex offenses when the case is reopened by biological evidence was passed by the Oklahoma House Thursday.

The measure by Rep. Jari Askins, D-Duncan, would eliminate the seven-year statute of limitations on rape, sodomy and lewd or indecent proposals and allow prosecutors to file charges at any time when the case is reopened by DNA evidence.

The measure was introduced after an Oklahoma inmate, Jeffrey Todd Pierce, was freed last year after serving 15 years for a rape he did not commit. He was exonerated by DNA evidence.

DNA from semen in the Pierce case matched a man who is in prison for a different crime. But the statute of limitations will prevent authorities from filing rape charges against him.

In a separate case, Arvin McGee Jr., who was convicted of the 1987 rape of a Tulsa woman, was released from a state prison on Tuesday after DNA tests showed he did not commit the crime. McGee was serving a 298-year sentence.

The measure, House Bill 2790, passed 95-0 and was sent to the Senate for consideration.

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