Bill Inspired By Wooded Rapist Case Advances In Legislature - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Bill Inspired By Wooded Rapist Case Advances In Legislature

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Legislation inspired by the Wooded Rapist case got a big push on Capitol Hill. On Thursday, sponsors of the John Doe DNA bill were joined by police and prosecutors to talk about the importance of the legislation, which goes to the House floor next week.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn called the bill another important tool to fight crime. "I've always said there should never be a deadline placed on justice, and with this legislation it removes any deadline that we have to bring justice to those who have committed crimes," said Gwyn.

The bill would allow prosecutors to file charges against a "John Doe" and a specific DNA profile. A Davidson County Assistant District Attorney was one of the first prosecutors in the country to use the strategy. He used it in the Wooded Rapist case, and the strategy helped convict Jason Burdick.

The District Attorney filed the John Doe charge to prevent the statute of limitations from running out on some of the charges against Burdick.  Jason Burdick appealed to the Tennessee Supreme Court and lost. The bill in the legislature codifies what the court has ruled.

"I want to make sure victims have the opportunity to have their day in court," said Representative Ryan Haynes (R) Knoxville. "When they've been a victim of a crime they ought to be able to have somebody brought before a jury convicted using this evidence. Quite frankly, the law just has not caught up with science and that's what we're doing here today."

The bill has already passed the full Senate. It's on the House floor next week. If it passed there it will head to the Governor for his signature.

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