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News Scan

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Iowa Benefits From New DNA Law: Law enforcement officers in Iowa are anticipating an expanded DNA database when a new state law takes effect on July 1.  Nick Hytrek of the Sioux City Journal reports that current law limits DNA testing to  convicted of felons and sex offenders.  The new law will allow collection of DNA from a majority of crimes including assault and burglary.  Governor Terry Branstad, who signed the bill into law last May, is hopeful that the change will help law enforcement  more crimes while exonerating innocent suspects.

Pharmacy Boards Reject Execution Drug Complaint: Pharmacy boards in Oklahoma and Missouri have announced that they will not take action against an Oklahoma compounding pharmacy that has been producing lethal injection drugs for Missouri.  Jeremy Kohler of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that attorneys for a Missouri death row inmate, Herbert L. Smulls, were seeking a 60-day stay based on the claim that the pharmacy is licensed in Oklahoma, not in Missouri where his execution is set to take place.  The Board noted that they do not have jurisdiction over entities that obtain prescription medication, but only over those that dispense or distribute prescriptions in the state.

Man Found Unfit to Stand Trial For Brutal Murders: 26-year-old Mingdong Chen, a Chinese transient who came to the U.S. illegally in 2004, has been found unfit to stand trial for the murders of his cousin's wife and four children.  Oren Yaniv of the New York Daily News reports that Chen, who is not a U.S. citizen, confessed to police that he murdered the woman and her four children with a large "restaurant style kitchen knife" because he believed the family was using him to get a green card.  He is currently being medicated and will be reevaluated until he is fit to stand trial, if convicted, Chen faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.   



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