National News

Maricopa County Attorney's Offices awarded grant to continue rape kit testing

Posted November 7, 2017 5:43 p.m. EST

— The Maricopa County Attorney's Office was awarded a $1.1 million grant for their ongoing initiative to test sexual assault kits.

MCAO will use the money for continued analysis of untested sexual assault kits, investigations and prosecution efforts with cases involving the kits.

The funding will open six new positions dedicated to the cause including a detective, an analyst, an additional advocate and support staff.

"This additional funding will help to not only hold offenders accountable for their crimes but also prevent offenders from causing additional harm to the community," said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. "This continued investment shows our commitment to seeking justice for the victims of these types of violent crimes."

The testing of sexual assault kits can identify suspects through biological evidence that is analyzed and compared to offender profiles in DNA databases.

Almost 2,700 kits will be sent for testing.

Matches found from some of those kits have led to six new indictments. Three of those indictments have led to convictions:

Nicholas Blackwater was sentenced to four additional years on top of his 50 years for previous sex assault cases.

Antonio Ray Sullivan added three and a half years and lifetime probation as a registered sex offender to his six years he is currently serving for burglary and sexual assault.

Raul Lujan added 15 years to his current sentence of 168 years after pleading guilty to attempted sexual assault.