In an August 2023 case before an Arizona court of appeals, the State of Arizona appealed a trial court’s order suppressing a defendant’s DNA profile. The DNA in question connected the defendant with a 2015 murder, leading the State to charge him with first-degree murder, second-degree burglary, and sexual assault. After the State filed charges, the lower court determined that the DNA was obtained illegally, and it suppressed the DNA evidence. The State then appealed this decision.
Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, investigators discovered the body of a dead woman in her apartment several years ago, in 2015. The murder went unsolved, as the investigators were unable to link any suspect to the incident.
Several years later, investigators conducted what is called a “familial DNA test” on the evidence from the 2015 crime scene. They discovered that an Arizona inmate was a close relative of the person whose DNA had been on the woman’s body. Investigating further, they then discovered that the inmate’s brother lived very close to the 2015 murder victim.
Because officers had previously arrested the inmate’s brother for several DUIs, they had already drawn this individual’s blood in the past. They then tested this blood, which they still had on file. The blood matched the unknown DNA from the murder scene several years prior.