- Associated Press - Monday, January 27, 2014

ATLANTA (AP) - A federal grant is expected to help the Georgia Bureau of Investigation organize evidence that could help solve cold cases and exonerate those who may have been wrongfully convicted.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (https://bit.ly/1hFi5ek) reports that the GBI is using a $424,000 grant from the National Institute of Justice to begin organizing DNA samples taken during sexual assault cases from decades ago. The GBI vault now holds about 20,000 DNA samples from crime scenes dating back to the 1980s and 90s.

The Georgia Innocence Project and district attorneys will be able to review evidence to identify potential cold case suspects, and use DNA evidence to possibly exonerate those who may have been wrongfully convicted.

“This is a big deal,” Chuck Spahos, executive director of the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia, told the newspaper. “Prosecutors don’t want anybody in prison who doesn’t deserve to be there.” He later added that district attorneys will be notified if a potential suspect in one their cases are identified through the database.

Executive Director of the Georgia Innocence Project, Aimee Maxwell, said DNA evidence being stored in the GBI vault has thus far helped exonerate one inmate who spent 22 years in prison for a 1985 Fulton County rape that he didn’t commit.

“Nobody should remain in prison if DNA evidence exists that could prove their innocence,” Maxwell said.


Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, https://www.ajc.com

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