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Devine Proposes Funding for Expedited DNA Testing in Child Murders

State's Attorney Richard A. Devine Joined State Sen. Kwama Raoul (D-Chicago), State Rep. James Brosnahan (D-Evergreen Park) and veteran attorney Kathleen Zellner on Monday to propose legislation that would create a funding pool to fund expedited DNA testing in child murder cases.

"There is no crime that so traumatizes a community as the murder of a child," Devine said. "We want to make sure that there is ample funding to promptly fund DNA testing in child murder cases when there is evidence available. The community should not have to wait one second too long to know who may have committed such a horrible crime."

The legislation calls for the creation of a $100,000 pool that would be targeted for DNA testing at a private lab for evidence recovered from the scene of the murder of a child 16 and under. Tests at private labs can run up to $1,500 each to develop a DNA profile that could be run through the national and state DNA databases.

"Child murder cases horrify families and communities in a manner that has all stakeholders wanting the crimes solved as quickly as possible," Raoul said. "It is essential that the pursuit of swift justice coincides with the pursuit of truth. While it is important to bring closure to cases it is equally important to get it right."

"I am proud to support this important legislative initiative by the State's Attorney," Brosnahan said. "The state must adequately fund murder and sexual assault cases, but the murder of a child cries out for a quick and immediate response from law enforcement. This legislation would make that happen."

"There is no greater tragedy for a family than the murder of their child," Zellner said. "When such a crime occurs, it is imperative that the killer be identified and apprehended immediately. Unfortunately, this goal is often impeded by the adversarial nature of our legal system. This legislation we propose today seeks to change that by uniting us in the common goal of protecting the innocent and apprehending the guilty."

There were 39 children under the age of 16 murdered in Illinois in 2003, according to the most recent figures compiled by the Illinois State Police.