Attorney General Lockyer, Fremont Chief Steckler Announce That State DNA Databank Links Suspect to February Sexual Assault

Wednesday, May 9, 2001
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer and Fremont Police Chief Craig Steckler today announced that a "cold hit" made last week in the California Department of Justice (DOJ) DNA Laboratory in Berkeley has linked a suspect to a February 18, 2001 sexual assault of a nine-year old Fremont girl.

Michael James Thompson, 36, was arrested on May 6th and arraigned today for the February sexual assault. He was linked to the sexual assault when evidence from the crime scene was analyzed by the Santa Clara County Crime Lab and yielded a DNA profile which matched Thompson's DNA profile stored in the DOJ Convicted Felon Databank.

"This was the 14th cold hit made at our DNA Lab this year, and it was the end result of outstanding work by the detectives and criminalists in the Fremont P.D. and the Santa Clara County Crime Lab," said Lockyer. "Our DNA Databank has again proved to be a valuable resource that works with local law enforcement to identify criminals and solve crimes."

California law requires blood and saliva samples to be taken from individuals convicted of any of nine specified felony sex and violent crimes. The samples yield DNA profiles, which are stored in the DOJ Convicted Felon Databank. DNA profiles extracted from crime scene evidence are compared to the profiles in the Databank, and a match in an unsolved case is considered a "cold hit." The local law enforcement agency and/or the local crime lab is notified about the identification and can then proceed appropriately with the information. Thompson is considered a "serious" sex offender under California's Megan's Law and his DNA profile is in the Databank as a result of previous California convictions for sexual penetration with a foreign object and child molestation.

"We have been able to take off the streets a very dangerous criminal because of the ability to collect and identify DNA material from crime scenes. This was a true collaborative effort from the initial responding police officers to the Santa Clara County Sheriff crime lab and the State Department of Justice crime lab. I am very pleased that this criminal will not be victimizing citizens of Fremont or any other city due to our ability to take advantage of DNA technology," said Steckler.

Upon taking office in 1999, Attorney General Lockyer pledged to eliminate the backlog of more than 100,000 unanalyzed convicted felon blood samples. The lab is now on pace to eliminate this backlog by July 1, 2001, when there will be a projected total of 200,000 DNA profiles from convicted felons that will be searchable against DNA profiles from crime scene evidence.

In order to increase the number of suspects identified and crimes solved, Lockyer is sponsoring legislation (AB 673 - Migden) to add residential burglary, first-degree robbery, arson, and carjacking to the current list of qualifying offenses which includes rape, murder, attempted murder, voluntary manslaughter, domestic violence, kidnaping, child molestation, mayhem and torture.

A total of 36 suspects have been identified by the DOJ DNA Convicted Felon Databank since it was established in 1994, and 24 of these "cold hits" have been made since January 1, 2000.

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