Juliette had read all those tips in the women’s magazines in the 1980s that cautioned women not to fight an attacker, to try to get out alive. And he said, ‘I’m not really into that.’” A single mother, Juliette was alone that night – her daughter was staying with the girl’s grandparents. Juliette’s attacker put a pillow over her face and continued to rape her. “The pillow came off my face then and I’m like, ‘What did you do? ’ He said, ‘You’ve seen my face and now I have to kill you.’” Call it survival. She blacked out briefly, only to regain consciousness as he stabbed her in the heart and twisted the knife. “In my mind I’m like, ‘Well, I’m 32 and you know, I’ve had a pretty good life. But tell the doctors that I have a four-year-old daughter and they have to keep me alive.’” She lived, barely. And now, 17 years later, Juliette’s attacker has been found, thanks to two young prosecutors opening an old case, a long-lost DNA “cold hit,” and the perseverance of a victim who hasn’t stopped telling her powerful story.
Still, Juliette’s case could have been solved six years ago — before her attacker committed at least two more sex crimes.
No matter how good the state or local crime lab may be, the “submitting agency” — the law-enforcement agency where the crime occurred — is often where the pipeline springs a leak, he says.“The challenge is that sometimes these hits occur years later, sometimes decades later, and the original investigators or prosecutors, people downstream from the laboratory, have retired, have moved on to other jobs,” Bieber says.Too often, that information gets lost in the bureaucracy, mishandled by investigators or given low priority in already-overworked departments.Frederick Bieber, an associate pathology professor at Harvard Medical School, is one of the nation’s experts on the system.“Just imagine a company that manufacturers a product and sells it and never knows how much money they made or how many got sold or how many had to be thrown away because they’re bad. “Over the years you’d have thought someone would have said, ‘Hey, maybe we ought to figure out what happens to these things.’” Both Harmon and Bieber question the “investigations aided” figure, with Harmon calling it a “peculiar term” and Bieber saying it’s an “alleged metric of success.” They say CODIS tracking systems should be mandatory for all law enforcement agencies.
Harmon created one in Alameda County called CHOP, or CODIS Hits Outcome Project, which he hopes to make statewide under a legislative proposal now pending in California.
CODIS is a database that links all federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, allowing them to share forensic DNA evidence from violent crimes.
Congress created the system in the mid-1990s to provide investigative leads in cases where law enforcement agencies can’t identify a suspect.
The FBI would not comment for this story, deferring to the law-enforcement agency responsible for the case.
“Ultimately, the success of the CODIS program will be measured by the crimes it helps to solve,” reads the FBI website.
“I thought that meant he was going to rape me and leave.” She lived in a home near Westport, just a few blocks off State Line Road on the Kansas side. ” “I just took my legs and kicked him as hard as I could and he slammed against the wall. In the ambulance, she heard the EMTs say she had punctured lungs.