A fresh look at cold cases and advances in DNA technology have helped Wisconsin law enforcers file charges in recent months in seven killings dating as far back as 1976, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. All the cases depend in part on DNA evidence that links the suspects to the crimes. Officials announced last week that DNA testing has identified suspects in five other homicides that occurred in Milwaukee from 1983 to 1994. Four of those suspects are already incarcerated in connection with other crimes.
Homicide investigators say the progress also can be credited to an increase in staffing at the State Crime Laboratory and an infusion of government money to support the investigations. Still, improved DNA testing is at the root of many of the cases. “It’s amazing the hits that we’re getting that were not possible years ago,” said Richard Luell, a special agent with the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation. “It’s sending a message out there that just because you got away with it for a while, it’s certainly not forgotten on our side.”