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News Scan

California Inmate Convicted for 1997 Rape:  The Associated Press reports California Inmate George Eugene Cross, 42, already serving a life sentence for assaulting three Sacramento County women in 2002, was sentenced to an additional 25 years to life for a 1997 rape of an Anaheim teenager.  Prosecutors used DNA evidence and testimony from the victim to link Cross to the rape. 

Pennsylvania Bill Would Expand DNA Collection:   The AP reports that Pennsylvania senate majority leader Dominic Pileggi proposed a bill to expand the state's DNA collection to include those accused of certain crimes after the preliminary hearing rather than waiting until conviction. If the bill is passed, Pennsylvania will join 24 other states with similar DNA collection laws.  The bill would also allow searches of the database for close but not exact matches to identify cases where the perpetrator is a close blood relative a person in the database.  The ACLU is opposed.

Family of Victims Files Lawsuit Against State of Arizona:  J.J. Hensley of The Arizona Republic reports that the family of a couple murdered by escapees from an Arizona prison last year, have filed a lawsuit against Arizona, the private prison operator, and the company that built the prison, alleging gross negligence.  Gary and Linda Haas were fatally shot and left in their burning camping trailer by Tracy Province, John McCluskey, and accomplice Casslyn Welch after Province and McCluskey escaped from a privately run prison near Kingman.  Daniel Renwick also escaped with Province and McCluskey, but headed to Colorado where he was captured after engaging in gunfire with local police. All three face federal murder and carjacking charges in connection with the Haas' deaths.  An attorney representing the family said "The purpose of this lawsuit is to get justice . . . not just for this family - the whole public is at risk."  After the escape the Arizona Department of Corrections conducted a review of the prison and found deficiencies in training and equipment, including an alarm system that frequently issued false alarms to the point where the staff ignored them.

Illinois Murder Registry Bill Passes Committee: Aledo Times Record (IL) reports that House Bill 263, also known as Andrea's Law, which calls for creating a murder registry much like sex offender registries, was passed out of the Illinois Judiciary II Committee today. The bill is named after Andrea Will, who was strangled to death in 1998 by her ex-boyfriend, Justin J. Boulay. Boulay was released in November after serving only half of his 24-year sentence. If passed, Illinois State Police would create an internet registry database of people convicted of first-degree murder, including information such as their names, residential addresses, and photographs.


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