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News Scan

CA Double Murderer Gets Death Penalty:  A California man convicted of murder in December was sentenced to death on Friday.  The AP reports that Orange County Superior Judge John Conley affirmed the jury's recommendation that Daniel Patrick Wozniak, 32, be put to death for killing two people six years ago in a scheme to steal money to pay for his wedding and honeymoon.  In 2010, Wozniak shot his neighbor, Army veteran Samuel Herr, so he could steal $50,000 he had saved from service in Afghanistan.  Wozniak then lured Herr's friend, Julie Kibuishi, to Herr's home and killed her, trying to make it appear that Herr had raped and killed her.  He also dismembered Herr's body and dumped it in a park.  In court last week, Herr's father described Wozniak as the "poster boy for the need for an effective death penalty in California."

Prop 47 Causing DNA Database to Dwindle: 
California's criminal DNA database is starting to dwindle, and officials attribute the drop to Proposition 47.  Joe Khalil of Fox40 reports that Prop. 47, which was approved by voters in 2014, reclassified eight specific drug and property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, and individuals who commit these crimes are no longer required to provide a DNA sample to the state.  In the first year after Prop. 47's implementation, felony narcotics arrests plummeted to 11,596, down from more than 36,376, and arrests involving dangerous drugs fell from 85,931 to 22,712, according to FBI data.  In that first year, an estimated 250,000 would-be DNA samples were never collected, says Assemblyman Jim Cooper.  Officials fear that this will hamper cold case investigations in California.  Just this month, the DNA of William Harbour entered into the state's database in 1997 after he was arrested for felony drug crimes, connected him to the murders of two young girls some 43 years earlier.  If arrested today for the same drug crimes, Harbour's DNA would not be collected.

Death Penalty Phase of OH Murder Trial Begins:  The sentencing phase for the double murder trial of an Ohio man began Monday morning after the jury reached a verdict over the weekend.  Jordan Bowen of WDTN reports that the jury will now decide if Harvey Lee Jones, 37, should get the death penalty for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Carly Hughley, 32, and her friend, Demetrius Beckwith, 29, over three years ago.  Jones shot the two victims to death in January 2013 in the presence of he and Hughley's then-10-year-old son.  Jones was found guilty on Saturday of a total of eight counts, including four counts of aggravated murder, two counts of aggravated burglary and two counts of aggravated robbery.

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