In wake of cold cases, Legislature poised to expand DNA testing

OLYMPIA, Wash. — It was 32 years before police found the man accused of killing Jennifer Bastian. DNA made the case.

Her mother testified in support of legislation to expand the use of DNA sampling. “I can't speak enough for the parents who are waiting for answers, for victims who are waiting for answers as well,” said Pattie Bastian.

Democratic state Sen. Manka Dhingra is a prosecutor who represents Redmond.

“You have to take a look at the history of crimes that occur, how people tend to escalate.”

State Sen. Jeannie Darneille represents Bastion's district.

“I've long been a champion of DNA collection and testing for a couple of reasons. One, to find the correct person who's committed the crime, and sometimes that results in an exoneration of a person who has been convicted of a crime.”

The legislation also tackles a problem uncovered by KIRO 7's Amy Clancy. Hundreds of Seattle DNA samples went untested because state law didn't allow samples from misdemeanor convictions like prostitution to be tested if the convictions were under city law.

“It actually allows that the cities who may be prosecuting indecent exposure under their city code to actually send that sample to the state laboratory,” said Dhingra.

The bill is named in part for Jennifer Bastian. Pattie Bastian believes more DNA testing will prevent more tragedies.

“If you know you're going to get caught if you do a crime, particularly a sexual one against another person, perhaps you'll think twice about doing it.”

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