Farry, Tomlinson and Hogan Discuss the Importance of DNA Technology in Pennsylvania’s Criminal Justice System

Feasterville – Sen. Frank Farry (R-6) and Reps. K.C. Tomlinson (R-18), Joe Hogan (R-142), Kristin Marcell (R-178),and Shelby Labs (R-143) joined First Assistant District Attorney Ed Louka, Bucks County Sheriff Fred Harran, Chief of Lower Southampton Police Department Ted Krimmel, and local law enforcement officials today at Comic Collection, located at 83 Bustleton Pike in Feasterville to discuss the importance of DNA technology in Pennsylvania’s Criminal Justice System. 

The press conference highlighted the impressive work by the Lower Southampton Police Department in an investigation of a violent robbery at Comic Collection in September 2022, where a DNA match led to the charging of two Michigan men 18 months after the crime.

Dave Schwartz, longtime owner of The Comic Collection, thanked the community and law enforcement officials for their dedication to the case. Schwartz spoke about his horrifying experience and the great relief he has now that justice will be served.

Sen. Farry and his colleagues, Reps. Tomlinson and Hogan spoke on their public safety initiatives, specifically legislation they are working on that would expand the number of DNA samples in the criminal justice system by requiring post-arrest testing of anyone charged with a felony or certain misdemeanors.  This sample-taking would be much like the established process of taking an arrestee’s fingerprints.  

“One of our goals as elected officials is to ensure our communities are safe and our law enforcement and prosecutors have the right tools to be able to properly do their jobs.  Our legislation will enhance public safety, bring closure to crime victims, and maintain the integrity of our criminal justice system,’ Farry said.

SB988, and its companion bill HB2030, would also expand the collection of DNA samples for those offenders convicted of criminal homicide, which under Pennsylvania law are their own classification of crime and technically not classified as felonies. This legislation would close that loophole and require collection of DNA samples from these offenders to solve other cold case murders and crimes.

It will also in mind the importance of conviction integrity served by advanced use of DNA identification. A sample can prove the innocence of someone else who has been incorrectly accused or convicted and imprisoned for a crime when the DNA ends up matching someone else.

“District Attorney Jennifer Schorn, in her 20+ years in law enforcement, has seen countless times how crucial DNA evidence can be, not only in charging and convicting violent offenders, but also in eliminating potential suspects who are innocent of any crime,” said Bucks County First Assistant District Attorney Edward M. Louka, who spoke at Thursday’s news conference and is the lead prosecutor in the Comic Collection assault and robbery.

“Equally crucial is the ability to obtain this evidence in the most expedient fashion possible,” Louka said. “This bill helps further these goals and ultimately keep the public safer.”

“Our DNA bill will provide the ability to prove someone’s innocence or guilt without question.  This legislation is necessary, needed, and common sense,” Tomlinson said.

“Our bill will work to protect the public from serial offenders, aid law enforcement, and save innocent people from wrongful convictions. By taking a sample of DNA following a felony arrest, law enforcement can solve cold cases and save time and taxpayer money by narrowing down on suspects, said Hogan. “Additionally, safeguards are in place so that if an innocent person’s DNA is taken, it can be removed from the national system. 

Hogan added, “Nineteen states including Texas and California, along with the federal government, obtain DNA samples post arrest. It is time Pennsylvania joins these other states to modernize our criminal justice system and keep our communities safe.”  View full press conference here


Nicole McGerry

Back to Top