DNA gets the killer

The Herald reports:

An $8.20 roll of salami proved to be the downfall for the killer of Marie Jamieson and allowed police to crack one of Auckland’s most mysterious unsolved murders.

Ms Jamieson, 23, was last seen crossing a service station forecourt in Kingsland on February 10, 2001. Her naked body was found nine days later behind factory buildings in Ranui. …

But seven years passed and police were no closer to solving the case – until Joseph Reekers was convicted of theft in April last year.

The conviction for shoplifting salami from Pak’n Save in Henderson allowed them to issue a compulsion order to take DNA from Reekers.

And there is no doubt it was Reekers as he pleaded guilty.

Yesterday, in a surprise move, the 52-year-old pleaded guilty in the High Court at Auckland to murder. The Crown withdrew the rape charge.

Now Reekers was not unknown to the Police

Reekers was already a “person of interest” to the inquiry. …

Now there has been debate about the desirability of a law change allowing DNA to be taken from suspects for serious crimes.

It occurs to me this is a good example of why that would be desirable. If he had never stolen the salami seven years later, then he may have got away with it, and the killer would never have been caught.

But if the Police had been able to DNA test the suspects, he would have been identified earlier on, with no need to rely on the chance he may steal salami one day.

Now I do not favour no limits on Police being able to demand a DNA sample. Otherwise we end up in a Police state where everyone at birth has their DNA added to the Police database for future crime solving.

But where someone is suspected of involvement in a serious crime (such as rape and murder), I support the Police being able to get a DNA sample – so long as it is destroyed if they are not charged or found not guilty at trial.

Anyway well done to the Police for getting a good result.

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