Oklahoma House rejects bill to expand DNA database

By SEAN MURPHY Published: March 5, 2014
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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A plan to force people arrested for certain crimes to submit DNA samples for a law enforcement database was rejected Wednesday by the Oklahoma House, despite an emotional plea from the bill’s author about a brutal Oklahoma murder solved because of the database.

The House voted 51-35 against the bill by Rep. Lee Denney, R-Stillwater, who said the measure would help solve cases and only target people arrested for certain violent felonies.

“These are the most violent, the most heinous crimes,” said Denney. “These are crimes against children, murder.

“My angle is to prevent further crimes.”

But Republicans and Democrats raised concerns about targeting people who haven’t been convicted of a crime and asked what would happen to DNA profiles in cases where people are acquitted or had charges expunged.

“With this, you’re guilty before you’re tried,” said Rep. Jerry McPeak, D-Warner. “How many innocent people will have to be traumatized and invaded before you think it’s not worth the risk?”

Denney became emotional when discussing the case of Jewel “Juli” Busken, a University of Oklahoma dance student from Benton, Ark., who was found dead at Lake Stanley Draper in 1996 after being kidnapped outsider her Norman apartment. She has been raped, bound and shot.