DNA leads to rape suspect's arrest - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

DNA leads to rape suspect's arrest

BAINBRIDGE, GA (WALB) - For nearly two and a half years GBI and Bainbridge Public Safety Officers were getting nowhere with a sexual assault case. "They put together their investigation, scoured all the leads, but just was unable to come up with a suspect," said District Attorney Joe Mulholland.

But last February, 24 year old Charlie Venisee showed up on their radar. Venisee was arrested for an unrelated charge and had to give a DNA sample. "All the inmates are required to give a buccal sample when they are incarcerated with the Department of Corrections and we use that evidence then to hopefully solve some of these cold cases that we've had in the past," said Mulholland.

A buccal sample is taken by brushing a swab or Q-tip against the inside of a person's cheek, so as to obtain cells that can be DNA typed. Venisee's sample matched an unsolved rape case from October 2007. The victim reported the crime immediately following the incident and medical staff at Bainbridge Memorial Hospital administered a rape kit.

DA Joe Mulholland says certain TV shows influence the public's perception of criminal investigations. "With shows like CSI and Law and Order we have heightened expectations of what the general public expects their prosecutors to be able to bring forth into court."

Mulholland says he is willing to use any piece of technology that can help solve a case. "We have embraced that in using new technology, PowerPoint, some new tracking devices. So we're trying to use technology as much as possible to ensure that the people of South Georgia are safe."

Mulholland says Venisee had been previously arrested for theft, destruction of government property, and sexual battery as a juvenile. He says the new DNA technology not only solves crimes, but prevents those criminals from committing others.

Venisee pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 years in prison, with a minimum of 10 to serve. He will also be required to register as a sex offender when he's released.

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