(WVLT) - Real life criminal investigations in Tennessee may soon catch up to the future of the CBS series "CSI". State lawmakers are now considering a bill that would require all violent felons to provide their DNA.
After more than two years, investigators have only a sketch of a possible suspect in the brutal killing of 21-year-old Johnia Berry. She was murdered at her Brendon Park apartment weeks before Christmas in 2004. So far, no one has been arrested for her murder.
"It is our hope that if Johnia's case goes on unsolved for several more years, it's a possibility, absolutely that it could help," Joan Berry says.
The Knox County Sheriff's office has said they obtained several more DNA samples from individuals in the past few months. Investigators targeted those people through tips and leads.
State lawmakers are now considering legislation that would require anyone arrested for a violent crime to provide a biological sample.
"We need to stand for what's right, and let's do something for the victims this time instead of worrying about the criminals all the time," Senator Tim Burchett says.
Law enforcement would build a bank of a DNA from violent criminals. They'd use it to prepare for crimes where a suspect may not be immediately evident. It would help law enforcement track down perpetrators.
The bill would require individuals arrested for the following violent felonies to submit biological specimens...first or second degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault, aggravated child abuse, robbery, aggravated burglary, carjacking, sexual battery, rape, statutory rape, and aggravated arson.
"This law has already been passed in other states, and Tennessee is just really far behind in their DNA," Joan Berry says.
There was DNA from Johnia Berry's murder scene, but there wasn't any match in the data base.
The legislation is expected to become law, and if it does, then if a defendant who's given a biological specimen is aquitted at trial, the DNA sample and all records would be destroyed.