OK Budget Crisis Making New DNA Testing Law Impossible To Take Effect

Wednesday, September 7th 2016, 7:57 pm
By: News On 6

The state budget crisis makes it impossible for a newly passed law to take effect November 1st.

The law says the state has to take the DNA of anyone arrested for a felony, but the State Bureau of Investigation said there's no money for that.

The new law says anybody convicted of a felony or misdemeanor has to pay $150 lab fee, and that money will be used to pay for all the tests, but that's going to take a while to build up.

As for right now, OSBI says there's no money to do the tests.

Gary Stansill is a sex crimes expert in Oklahoma, and no one was happier when the law finally passed after eight years of trying. He believes it will solve old cases and prevent new ones.

4/19/2016 Related Story: Controversial DNA Bill Passes Senate

"The potential for solving crimes would be huge," he said.

He points to Tulsa serial rapist, Gary Graham, who sexually assaulted eight people in Tulsa - most of them children.

Stansill said if we'd had the law then, they would've caught Graham after his first attack because Graham had been arrested before for felony burglary, so his DNA would've been in the system; that's seven additional victims who wouldn't have had to suffer.

"Most offenders are repeat offenders,” Stansill said. “They've been arrested for other crimes."

He said the law could finally help solve the rape and murder of Tulsa college student Brittany Phillips because there's DNA from that suspect, but we don't know who it belongs to.

The new law will add thousands of new DNA samples to the database, but not for now, because there's no money to make the law a reality.

Like so many other things in Oklahoma, the law depends on the state budget crisis, so there's no set date for when they can start running the DNA tests.