8News takes a closer look at state’s DNA database in light of Chesterfield conviction

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — On Friday, 18-year-old Quaseer Carter pled no contest to the 2015 rape and beating of a 47-year-old woman. The state’s DNA database connected Carter as a suspect.

It’s the latest success story involving DNA, which is why many have called for the database to be expanded.

A few months ago, the parents of murdered UVaA student Hannah Graham urged lawmakers to study expanding the number of misdemeanor crimes that require DNA collection. They say their daughter would still be alive had Jesse Matthew, the man convicted in her death, had his DNA collected for trespassing in 2010.

“Hannah would never have met him and he would not have abducted and murdered her and simply put she would be alive today,” said Hannah’s mother, Sue Graham back in January.

While a measure requiring studying expansion failed, the state’s crime commission decided a few days ago it would study the issue. Effective July 1, 2015, nine misdemeanors were added to the list of crimes that require DNA collection.

The state has more than 415,000 DNA samples currently in its database. That’s up from the almost 6,000 the state had in 1995.

While supporters argue more DNA would help solve more crimes, some lawmakers and groups like the ACLU continue to cite concerns over personal privacy. They say there has to be a balance between protecting the public and civil liberties.

Meanwhile, Carter will face sentencing in September.

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