Illinois State Police crime lab delays may have allowed a man charged in three violent attacks against women last year in Chicago to rape and kill a third victim in November–even though his DNA had been recovered from his second victim four months earlier, reports the Chicago Tribune. Police and Cook County prosecutors believe they might have prevented the third slaying and one attempted killings if DNA evidence collected from the scene of a killing in July had been processed promptly. Police obtained DNA evidence from a victim’s body and on July 17 asked the crime lab to analyze it. The material remained untested for months, just as it does in many cases where no suspects already have been identified.
Faster processing of the DNA would probably have stopped the attacks, said David Bayless, a spokesman for the Chicago Police Department. Although the crime lab has been responsive to requests from the Police Department, more state money for the lab would help ease the backlog, Bayless said.