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.
The case remained unsolved for nearly a decade until a Norman man, Anthony Castillo Sanchez, was convicted of second-degree burglary and forced to submit a state-mandated DNA sample while serving his sentence at a Lawton prison. That DNA matched evidence taken from the scene of Busken’s murder and led to Castillo’s murder conviction and death sentence.
Denney said she talked to Busken’s parents, Bud and Mary Jean Busken, about their support for the measure.
“They didn’t want just someone arrested,” said Denney, her voice quavering with emotion. “They wanted the man who brutalized their daughter arrested.”
Convicted criminals in Oklahoma already are required to submit DNA samples, but Denney’s bill would expand it to include those arrested for a list of crimes, including violent felonies and crimes against children.