State Crime Lab Gets Funding For New Equipment For Serial Killer Case

DNA swabbing is one of the most widely used investigative tools by law enforcement. In the investigation of the serial killer, the State Police Crime Lab is testing all DNA samples taken as detectives try to find the man responsible for murdering at least five south Louisiana women.

Standing firmly behind the Serial Killer Task Force, Governor Foster has promised not to spare any expense in the investigation. Members of the state legislature have appropriated $462,000 for two new genetic analyzers, machines used to test DNA samples taken from crime scenes like those of the women murdered by the serial killer.

"This is not only a Baton Rouge problem, this is a community problem. And I think all the lawmakers are as committed as the governor is committed along with the Task Force to bring this thing to some type of closure," said Colonel Terry Landry, Superintendent of State Police.

It takes the lab anywhere from 12 to 14 hours to process one DNA sample depending on the condition of the sample. But with the new equipment, analysts will be able to process up to eight samples in the same amount of time.

Captain Bryan Wynne with the State Police Crime Lab says, "I think it'll help us to process the samples that much quicker so that we can get the results back to the Task Force as quickly as possible."

In addition, the crime lab is trying to shrink backlogs of D-N-A testing for other cases.State police say paying an outside company to process a DNA sample costs about $1,100 per test compared to $855 when done at its crime lab. The crime lab began DNA testing in April 2001. So far this year, 402 cases -- including the serial killer case -- have been referred to the lab to analyze DNA samples.

The money to pay for the new machines and supplies will come from extra funds collected by the Office of Motor Vehicles. The measure was approved by a joint budget committee Tuesday morning.