Colin Pitchfork was the first person convicted of his crimes, including rape and murder, using DNA evidence in 1988. DNA fingerprinting has put thousands of criminals behind bars throughout the next three decades.
As long as the perpetrator leaves biological evidence at the crime scene, DNA is a powerful tool to help investigators identify the person with incredible accuracy.
The same method can also eliminate individuals from the list of suspects and exonerate the mistakenly accused or convicted.
Many cold cases in many jurisdictions worldwide (from before the discovery of the method) have been solved thanks to DNA fingerprinting as well.
In January 2022, Denver police solved a serial killer case for decades through DNA identification combined with the traditional genealogical method. Joe Michael Ervin, who committed suicide in 1981, was identified as the murderer responsible for the deaths of four women from 1978 to 1981.
Madeleine Furey-Livaudais, Dolores Barajas, Gwendolyn Harris, and Antoinette Parks; each suffered multiple stab wounds. Police confirmed the finding following the exhumation of Ervin’s body.
10 /10 Two Killings In Seven Month
On December 7, 1978, at around 6:15 p.m., Madeleine Furey-Livaudais was found dead at her home, apparently from multiple stab wounds. She was a 33-year-old ecologist and author.
About seven months later, in Denver, on August 10, 1980, Dolores Barajas was found lifeless on the street. Investigation revealed she was in the city to visit her family.
She also worked at Fairmont Hotels during the summer. The killer attacked her when she was walking to work. Barajas was supposed to move out of Colorado the next day. She was 53-year-old at the time of her death.
9 /10 Two More Killings In Two Months
Gwendolyn Harris was found dead in the streets of the Montebello neighborhood in Denver on December 21, 1980, at 10:45 a.m. She was 27-year-old, last seen alive the night before at the Polo Club Lounge.
Just a month later, the body of Antoinette Parks, a student at Gateway High School in Aurora, was found abandoned in a field in Adams County.
She was killed on January 24, 1981. At her death, she was only 17-year-old and six-to-seven months pregnant. The police investigated those four cases separately as there was no evidence to suggest a connection between them.