TN law would charge DNA with crime if suspect unknown - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

TN law would charge DNA with crime if suspect unknown

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A bill designed to help prosecutors stop violent criminals is moving forward in the state Legislature.

The bill would give district attorneys the power to charge a person for a crime, even if that person's identity is unknown. Instead of charging a name, prosecutors would charge DNA collected either from a crime scene or from a victim, in cases of rape.

That way, charges are filed within the statute of limitations.

Some lawmakers say this brings Tennessee law up to date with advances in science and technology and makes it easier to hold violent offenders accountable.

"Victims should never have a knock on the door saying, 'Good news, we found who did it. Bad news, we didn't charge DNA, so he's going to go free,'" said Assistant District Attorney General Roger Moore.

There have been occasions in the past where this practice has already led to criminal charges for a suspect, but the proposed law makes it standard.

The bill has already passed unanimously in the Senate and heads to the House next week.

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