December 3, 2012

Serial killer Gacy's blood may solve old murders

Don Babwin/Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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In this photo taken Friday, Nov. 30, 2012, in Chicago, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, left, and sheriff's detective Jason Moran are photographed with three recently discovered vials of mass murderer John Wayne Gacy's blood. The sheriff�s office is creating DNA profiles from the blood of Gacy and other executed killers and putting them in a national DNA database of profiles created from blood, semen, or strands of hair found at crime scenes and on the bodies of victims. What they hope to find is evidence that links the long-dead killers to the coldest of cold cases and prompt authorities in other states to submit the DNA of their own executed inmates and maybe evidence from decades-old crime scenes to help them solve their own cases. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

AP

click image to enlarge

This photo taken Friday, Nov. 30, 2012, in Chicago shows three vials of mass murderer John Wayne Gacy's blood recently discovered by Cook County Sheriff's detective Jason Moran. The sheriff�s office is creating DNA profiles from the blood of Gacy and other executed killers and putting them in a national DNA database of profiles created from blood, semen, or strands of hair found at crime scenes and on the bodies of victims. What they hope to find is evidence that links the long-dead killers to the coldest of cold cases and prompt authorities in other states to submit the DNA of their own executed inmates and maybe evidence from decades-old crime scenes to help them solve their own cases. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

AP

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"They're homicides because the state intended to take the inmate's life," O'Neil said.

Last year, authorities in Florida created a DNA profile from the blood of executed serial killer Ted Bundy in an attempt to link him to other murders. But officials there, where the law allows profiles of convicted felons be uploaded into the database as well as the phase-in of profiles of people arrested on felony charges, don't know of any law enforcement agency reaching back into history the way Cook County's sheriff's office is.

"We haven't had any initiative where we are going back to executed offenders and asking for their samples," said David Coffman, director of Florida Department of Law Enforcement's laboratory system. "I think it's an innovative approach."

O'Neil said he is still looking for blood samples of the rest of the 12 condemned inmates executed between 1977 when Illinois reinstated the death penalty and 2000 when then-Gov. George Ryan established a moratorium. So far, DNA profiles have been done on the blood of Gacy and two others; the profile of the fourth inmate has not yet been done.

Among the other executed inmates whose blood was submitted for testing was Lloyd Wayne Hampton, a drifter executed in 1998 for his crimes. Not only did Hampton's long list of crimes include crimes outside the state — one conviction was for the torture of a woman in California — but shortly before he was put to death, he claimed to have committed other murders but never provided details.

So far, no computer hits have linked Gacy or the others to any other crimes. But Moran and O'Neil suspect there are investigators who are holding DNA evidence that could help solve them.

That is exactly what happened during the investigation into the 1993 slayings of seven people at a suburban Chicago restaurant, during which an evidence technician collected a half-eaten chicken dinner even though there was no way to test it for DNA at the time.

When the technology did become available, the dinner was tested and it revealed the identity of one of two men ultimately convicted in the slayings.

Moran says he wants investigators in other states to know that Gacy's blood is now open for analysis in their unsolved murders. He hopes those jurisdictions will, in turn, submit DNA profiles of their own executed inmates.

"That is part of the DNA system that's not being tapped into," he said.

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Additional Photos

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FILE - This 1978 file photo shows serial killer John Wayne Gacy. Three vials of Gacy's blood were recently discovered by Cook County Sheriff's detective Jason Moran. The sheriff�s office is creating DNA profiles from the blood of Gacy and other executed killers and putting them in a national DNA database of profiles created from blood, semen, or strands of hair found at crime scenes and on the bodies of victims. What they hope to find is evidence that links the long-dead killers to the coldest of cold cases and prompt authorities in other states to submit the DNA of their own executed inmates and maybe evidence from decades-old crime scenes to help them solve their own cases. (AP Photo)

AP

  


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