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State Lawmakers Taking Hard Look At How DNA Evidence Is Handled In N.C.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — State lawmakers are taking a second look at how DNA evidence is handled in North Carolina as a direct result of a WRAL investigation.

On Thursday, WRAL did a


about how the State Bureau of Investigation's crime lab turns away most DNA evidence unless there is a suspect, leaving thousands of boxes of evidence stranded on police department shelves.

State Rep. David Miner, R-Wake, expressed alarm that crime labs in Virginia get far more staffing and far more results than in North Carolina. Last year, scientists in Virginia broke open 308 unsolved cases compared to 26 in North Carolina.

"Perhaps this is one that we need to raise some fees, court fees. We need to make sure the money is there to pay for this kind of need," Miner said.

Rep. Leo Daughtry, R-Johnston, said after seeing the story on WRAL, he wants changes.

"I don't think people know about this and obviously this is an opportunity for us to fix a problem," he said. "I certainly hope we'll have hearings about it in justice and public safety and do the right thing in response to this great opportunity."

"This is something we should be focused on," Miner said.

Miner also said that he is willing to sponsor legislation to increase the crime lab's staffing and DNA database. Gov. Mike Easley told WRAL that he did not see the story, but he said he has committed to working with the state attorney general's office to fully fund DNA analysis.