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SBI Crime Lab helps catch South Carolina murder suspect

Release date: 6/7/2006

For immediate release Contact: Noelle Talley

Date: June 7, 2006 Phone: 919/716-6413

SBI Crime Lab helps catch South Carolina murder suspect

Attorney General Cooper lauds Crime Lab’s DNA work

Raleigh: DNA analysis performed by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab has helped South Carolina law enforcement authorities confirm the identity of a suspect in the murder of a college student.

“Once again, this incredible technology has helped determined investigators solve a murder,” Cooper said. “Our SBI Crime Lab experts worked quickly to assist South Carolina law enforcement in confirming a suspect in this horrible crime.”

Crime scene evidence collected by the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division in the murder of Tiffany Marie Souers, a 20-year-old student at Clemson University, contained an unknown DNA profile. Souers was found dead in her apartment on May 26.

That DNA was found to match that of Jerry Buck Inman, 35, in North Carolina’s database of convicted offender DNA. Inman is included in the database because of a 1988 conviction of second degree sex offense. Analysis by DNA experts at the NC SBI’s Crime Lab confirmed that the DNA found by South Carolina law enforcement matched Inman’s DNA. Inman was arrested late Tuesday night in Tennessee.

“DNA analysis is no luxury,” said Cooper. “It’s a critical tool that can pinpoint criminals and convict them. It also helps exonerate the innocent.”

Over the past 5 years, North Carolina has more than tripled the number of DNA analysts at the SBI Crime Lab. Cooper is asking legislators for two more DNA experts so that the lab can continue to work more cases more quickly.

Cooper also pushed to expand North Carolina’s DNA database to include all felons instead of just a few violent felonies. Thanks to that larger database, the SBI has been able to use DNA to solve more cold cases in the past year than in the entire decade before the all felons law took effect.