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DNA testing bill passes

CARSON CITY — A week after a suspect in the rape of a Henderson teenager was arrested because of DNA testing in California, the Assembly voted 42-0 Monday for legislation to require all felons in Nevada to submit to DNA testing.

“DNA testing exonerates the innocent and convicts the guilty,” said Assemblywoman Valerie Weber, R-Las Vegas, before the vote on Assembly Bill 92.

Under the bill, Class C felons such as burglars and robbers would be required by courts to submit to DNA testing when they are convicted. Currently, only more violent felons, such as murderers and rapists, must undergo DNA tests.

The DNA test information would be placed in the Nevada Criminal History Records Repository.

Weber said that last week Henderson police arrested Sergio Hugo Hernandez, 30, at a Henderson construction site and charged him with the Jan. 25 sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl.

Forensic analysts with the Metropolitan Police Department’s criminalistics bureau tested the girl’s clothes and developed a DNA profile of the suspect.

The profile was run through a DNA database, and Hernandez came back as the match, police said.

Hernandez’s DNA had been collected and placed in a database because of a robbery conviction in California.

Weber said that if it had not been for California’s requirement for DNA testing for robbers, then the arrest in the Henderson rape might never have been made.

If AB92 becomes law, Nevada will become the 45th state that collects DNA samples for felony crimes and places them in database, she said.

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