The sole survivor of an attack in which four people were murdered identified the perpetrators as three white men. The police ignored suspects who fit the description and arrested a young black man instead. He is now awaiting execution.
On today’s episode:
• Kevin Cooper, who has been on death row at San Quentin State Prison in California for three decades.
• Nicholas Kristof, a New York Times columnist who has written about Mr. Cooper’s case.
• The evidence against Mr. Cooper has largely been discredited, but Gov. Jerry Brown of California has refused to allow advanced DNA testing that may shed light on the case.
The same DNA analysis used to find the alleged Golden State Killer has led to the arrest of a second alleged murderer. It’ll likely lead to more.
I can see this going to the Supreme Court sooner than later on privacy related underpinning. I can’t help but recall the words of Jed Bartlett in The West Wing when he was saying in season one that privacy would be one of the most pressing issues for the Supreme Court in the coming century.
Paul Holes was on the verge of retirement, having never completed his decades-long mission to catch the Golden State Killer. Then he had an idea: Upload DNA evidence to a genealogy website.
On today’s episode:
• Paul Holes, an investigator in California who helped to crack the case.
• A spate of murders and rapes across California in the 1970s and 1980s went unsolved for decades. Then, last week, law enforcement officials arrested Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, a former police officer.
• Investigators submitted DNA collected at a crime scene to the genealogy website GEDmatch, through which they were able to track down distant relatives of the suspect. The method has raised concerns about privacy and ethics.
A stunning story with some ingenious detective work. I worry what the potential privacy problems are off in the future, though one of the ideas here is that it actually helps protect the privacy of some individuals who are wrongly and maliciously accused and thus saves a lot of time and money.
The subtleties will be when we’re using this type of DNA evidence more frequently for lower level crimes while at the same time the technology gets increasingly cheaper to carry out.