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DNA Solves 1980 Murder Case: The Associated Press reports convicted sex offender Michael Allan Halgren was charged Wednesday with murder in Washington state. Halgren was linked by DNA to the April 23, 1980 murder of a 19-year-old woman. In 2012, His DNA was profiled at a special commitment center as part of an updating process for a number of civilly committed sexually violent predators. Halgren had been convicted of a 1989 kidnapping and raping of a woman in Washington.

Execution Dates Set for 3 PA Killers: Larry Alexander of the Intelligencer Journal reports execution dates were set Thursday for Abraham Sanchez Jr., Freeman May, and Orlando Maisonet in Pennsylvania. May, 55,  will be executed March 5. He was convicted of stabbing a 22-year-old woman to death. She was reported missing on September 4, 1982, and her remains were located dumped in a wooded area in 1988. In December 1982 , May had brutally stabbed two women, ages 15 and 19, raping one of the victims. The girls survived to identify May as their attacker. Maisonet, 54, will be executed March 6 for his participation in the stabbing murder in September 1982.  Sanchez, 24, who will be executed March 7, shot a man to death during a robbery attempt in May 2007. All three killers will be executed by lethal injection.

President Signs Katie's Law:
Melissa Masatani of Pasadena Star-News reports that President Barack Obama signed the Katie Sepich Enhanced DNA Collection Act, H.R. 6014, into law Thursday. The law would allow states which collect DNA from felony arrestees to apply for funding. The funding is limited to $10 million from 2013 to 2015 and will come from the Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Reduction Act. About half of the states in the nation already collect samples from felony arrestees. The samples are given a numeric ID which can be matched to the ID in other cases. Personal information is not recorded with the sample. The bill was introduced by Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, in 2010. It was named for murder victim Katie Sepich, who was raped and killed in 2003 in New Mexico. Her killer's DNA was not matched to DNA collected from Sepich until 2006. More information on her case and the law can be found here.

Loophole for OR Sex Offenders: Kate Cagle of KPTV News reports all sex offenders, regardless of the seriousness of their offenses or criminal history, can register as transients in Oregon. Homeless sex offenders can list a street corner as their home address. They are in compliance with state law as long as they sleep within a seven to ten block radius of that location. This poses a significant public safety risk for citizens.

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There are obviously some problems with the Oregon law, but do you have a reasonable suggestion about a way to make it better? We can't imprison people just because they can't afford a place to live, and I suspect (though I'm of course open to correction on this) that homeless shelters are reluctant to admit registered sex offenders, especially for long-term housing. So absent a large investment by Oregon in homeless shelters for convicted sex offenders, what is there to do?

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