We have written about DNA as it pertains to the law on numerous occasions. A person’s genetic fingerprint being left at the scene of a crime can make a prosecutor’s case; but, it can also prove someone’s innocence, even decades later.
Last year, we covered the remarkable story of the apprehension of the “Golden State Killer.” DNA brought former law enforcement officer Joseph James DeAngelo to the attention of authorities. As we pointed out, law enforcement officials attribute 12 murders and around 50 rapes to DeAngelo throughout many years.
The ability to use genetic material to solve crimes has been around for decades. However, new advancements allow scientists to find out the identity of criminals through their family tree. Experts no longer require the suspects DNA; they only need one of their family members to get curious about their heritage. Millions of Americans now use ancestry websites to find out more about their origins, much to the annoyance of those who would harm other people.
1973 Newport Beach Slaying Solved
Last year, the Newport Beach police took a fresh look at the 1973 slaying of 11-year old Linda O’Keefe, NBC News reports. O’Keefe had resided in the surf-side neighborhood of Corona del Mar when last seen alive on July 6, 1973. She was found the next day with strangulation marks around her neck.
“For 45 years, the Newport Beach Police Department continued to search for Linda’s killer,” said Newport Beach Police Chief Jon Lewis. “Generations of investigators worked on her case. We never gave up.”
The revitalized investigation led to the arrest of a Colorado man named James Alan Neal, 72, according to the article. Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said that interest in Neal stemmed from genealogical DNA. Using genetic material voluntarily given to ancestry research companies, DNA investigator CeCe Moore was able to point authorities in the right direction.
Orange County Criminal Defense
If you are facing criminal charges in Southern California, The Law Office of Ronald G. Brower can help you secure a favorable outcome to your case. With decades of legal experience, Attorney Brower can advocate for you in several practice areas. Please contact our office for a consultation.