New DNA testing team speeds up prosecution

A swatch of cloth contain DNA obtain by officials. / Jessica Fairley

Officials no longer have to travel outside of the region to test evidence for DNA because Moultrie's GBI crime lab is now qualified for testing.

This is the first time that the Georgia Bureau Investigation Southwestern Regional Crime Lab has received accreditation to perform DNA analysis.

"Generally DNA is used to solve violent crime cases. That could be homicides, assaults, armed robberies, and we also use it for burglary cases," said Ross Butler, Southwestern Regional Laboratory Manager.

The lab in Moultrie is one of only three statewide labs qualified for DNA testing. The facility will serve 27 counties throughout southwest Georgia.

The facility was assigned its first case Friday.

Before receiving accreditation, all forensic evidence would be shipped to a lab just outside of Atlanta for testing. Local officials say the new qualifications will speed up the prosecution process.

"The items to be tested have to be physically taken to a facility for testing and if the laboratory is nearby that cuts the time to get it there and it cuts the cost to get it there," said Greg Edwards, Dougherty County District Attorney.

Greg Edwards says if more evidence is found it can be submitted immediately. Also during trial, forensic experts will be on hand to testify in court about their findings.

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