“Katie’s Law” which was passed in 2009 and created the expanded DNA sampling program.

A law that expanded the number of people who must submit DNA samples has linked crime suspects to 40 unsolved sex assaults, burglaries, arsons and robberies across Colorado, authorities say.


“We knew there would be an immediate impact and there was an immediate impact,” said Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey, one of the key proponents of what is called “Katie’s Law” which was passed in 2009 and created the expanded DNA sampling program.

Katie’s Law requires all people arrested on suspicion of a felony to submit a DNA sample. It went into effect on Sept. 30, 2010, said CBI Executive Director Ron Sloan.

Under the law, if no felony charges are filed, DNA samples are destroyed after a year.

In just 4 1/2 months, law enforcement officers across the state have collected 15,404 DNA Swab samples. Of those, 9,912 of the samples were processed by CBI when felony charges were filed.

The samples were entered into the Combined DNA Index System along with DNA samples collected from crime victims or scenes across Colorado.

Matches were found in nine sex assaults, two robbery cases, 15 burglaries and 14 property crimes across the state.

Morrissey said the law was passed anticipating that it would help solve primarily violent and sex assault crimes in which bodily fluids were exchanged.

Denver alone has had matches in 17 cases, including two cold case sex assault cases, he said.

The law is named after Katie Sepich, a 22-year-old New Mexico woman who was raped, strangled and her body set on fire by a man released on bond.

Morrissey read a statement from Katie’s mother Jayann Sepich, who urged Colorado lawmakers to pass the law.

“I can’t bring Katie back but this law may mean that another mom won’t have to experience the loss and emptiness I had to experience,” she said.

DNA is a “high tech blessing for justice,” said Sen. Steve King, R-Grand Junction, one of the sponsors of the bill.

“If you doubt that, let’s ask the expert in this, Tim Masters,” he said, referring to the former Fort Collins murder convict, who was exonerated in 2008 after DNA evidence pointed to another suspect.

Via Denver Post