Problems with the SBI Crime Lab & DNA

My name is Kami Styles.

I would like to share with you a story about my friend who was murdered in his Asheville NC home and what we’ve had to deal with since his death.

Chris was an up-and-coming artist living in Asheville when he was beaten and strangled to death in his apartment on October 26, 2013. There have been no arrests or suspects named in his case. We are currently waiting on the DNA for his case to be processed, but there is a major backlog at the NCSBI crime lab. It has now been almost 10 months since he died. Some DNA evidence at the crime lab has been sitting there for well over 2 years because of the tremendous backlog and funding issues.

The problems with the SBI crime lab not only affects Chris’ case, but all citizens of NC. There are innocent people waiting in prison for DNA evidence to be checked, and some of them are waiting years for the process to be complete. In the meantime, there are people in jail who have committed heinous crimes who are in jail for a separate crime. Those people could be released before convicted of their crimes because of the tremendous back log of DNA evidence waiting to be checked.

Since Chris’ death, I have found out that the police do not check DNA until there is a suspect. Television allows you to think that they check DNA for every murder case, and that isn’t true. Until they have a suspect in question, they do not waste the time. Without witnesses, a confession, or DNA proof, a person can not be convicted of murder, so if a murderer decided to kill a person in their own home without anyone else witnessing it, it is highly likely that they would never be caught. This is what happened to Chris, and this is the problem with many other murder cases in NC. 10 months later there has been no suspects named and no arrests made in connection to his murder.

Please help us draw some attention to this problem. A recent news story that was aired last week says the problem is lack of funding for the SBI crime lab. If more people were aware of how this problem affects them, maybe something could be done to change things. His family and I have written letters to legislators all over the state and no one seems to have a solution.

I am including the news clip from the story about the problem as well as links to articles about Chris’ case.

Thank you so much for your help. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Kami Styles

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