Jonathan J. Gravely was arrested and charged last week with killing an Ohio State freshman 12 years ago. The Cincinnati Enquirer says the arrest came after a sample of his DNA was entered into a statewide database and matched genetic evidence taken from the crime scene. A similar story played out in Akron last week after a death row inmate’s DNA in the same database produced a match when authorities entered genetic material from the 1995 crime scene where a 13-year-old girl was killed. Those are just two of the hundreds of cases across the state being solved by DNA – using Ohio’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), a database that compares DNA samples collected from convicted offenders with DNA taken from crime scenes.
“In CODIS, we have created a remarkable investigative tool that will only get better in terms of solving crimes and achieving justice,” said Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro. Local law enforcement agencies say they are getting more calls from state crime labs informing them of a DNA match. “It’s rare if somebody rapes and kills and it’s their first and last crime,” said Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters. Adds Assistant Prosecutor Michael Bachman: “CODIS has the potential to really help in stranger-rape cases.” In Ohio, the database contains DNA profiles of more than 127,500 felons as well as 8,826 evidentiary profiles. Since the database began in 2000, it has helped in 1,555 investigations.