Mother of murdered victim wants DNA testing upon arrests in GA, KY


A local woman whose daughter was murdered is still fighting to get DNA testing laws passed.

In this image provided by Duke University, lab research analyst Marshall Nichols does research relating to a new blood test on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, in Durham, N.C. Duke University researchers are developing a blood test to more easily tell when a respiratory illness is due to a virus and not a bacterial infection, hoping to cut the dangerous overuse of antibiotics and speed the right diagnosis. (AP Photo/Duke Medicine, Shawn Rocco)

A local woman whose daughter was murdered is still fighting to get DNA testing laws passed. Joan Berry is very passionate about DNA testing violent offenders when they're arrested. She tells Local 8 her daughter's suspected killer would have been caught years earlier if his DNA had been on record.

Joan's daughter Johnia Berry was murdered in 2004 in Knoxville. A man broke into her apartment and stabbed her dozens of times. Police arrested Taylor Olson three years later for the crime. Olson later hanged himself in jail. According to investigators, Olson's DNA was left at the scene, but since he wasn't tested on previous arrests in Tennessee, they didn't know it was his.

On May 9, 2007, the Johnia Berry act was passed making it a law to DNA test people arrested for violent felonies. Four months after the DNA bill passed, Olson was arrested again, they matched his DNA and arrested him.

Joan Berry says, "His DNA was 6.8 billion to one a match. We still lobby for DNA legislation to get DNA upon felony arrests. There are now 27 states that have it passed so we'll keep working on that."

Georgia and Kentucky are two states that don't have DNA testing upon arrests. If you think that should change, have your friends in those states call their lawmakers.


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