Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

National and World

December 3, 2012

Gacy's blood may solve old murders

(Continued)

"He traveled a lot," Moran said of Gacy. "Even though we don't have any information he committed crimes elsewhere, the sheriff asked if you could put it past such an evil person."

After unexpectedly finding three vials of Gacy's blood stored with other Gacy evidence, Moran learned the state would only accept the blood in the crime database if it came from a coroner or medical examiner.

Moran thought he was out of luck. But then Will County Coroner Patrick O'Neil surprised him with this revelation: In his office freezer were blood samples from Gacy and at least three other executed inmates. The reason they were there is because after the death penalty was reinstated in Illinois in the 1970s, executions were carried out in Will County — all between 1990 and 1999, a year before then-Gov. George Ryan established a moratorium on the death penalty. So it was O'Neil's office that conducted the autopsies and collected the blood samples.

But there was bigger obstacle.

While the state does send to the FBI's Combined DNA Index System the profiles of homicide victims no matter when they were killed, it will only send the profiles of known felons if they were convicted since a new state law was enacted about a decade ago that allowed them to be included, Moran said.

That meant the profile of Gacy, who received a lethal injection in 1994, and the profiles of other executed inmates could not qualify for the database under the felon provision. They could, however, qualify as people who died by homicide.

"They're homicides because the state intended to take the inmate's life," O'Neil said.

Last year, authorities in Florida created a DNA profile from the blood of executed serial killer Ted Bundy in an attempt to link him to other murders. But officials there, where the law allows profiles of convicted felons be uploaded into the database as well as the phase-in of profiles of people arrested on felony charges, don't know of any law enforcement agency reaching back into history the way Cook County's sheriff's office is.

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