DNA Leads to Arrest in 1993 Rape

Prosecutor Wants DNA Collection Expanded

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    372983 02: A civilian scientist working in the Broward County crime lab handles processed DNA extractions that were taken from blood samples of convicted criminals July 13, 2000 in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Since the DNA Identification Act of 1994 was passed the Federal Bureau of Investigation has established a national database of DNA taken from the blood samples of convicted criminals. The DNA data is used by law enforcement agencies in 22 states to help identify suspects who were previously unknown to investigators. In Florida, DNA blood samples are mandatory if one is convicted for the following offenses or attempted offenses: Car jacking, murder, sexual assault, lewd or indecent acts, aggravated battery, and home invasion. (Photo by Robert King/Newsmakers)

    A DNA match has solved the 1993 rape of a teenager on the Lower East Side, the Manhattan District Attorney said Monday.

    The alleged rapist is a man who had to submit his DNA earlier this year after being convicted of felony drug possession in Virginia, said D.A. Cyrus Vance.

    Suspect Alberto Barriera, 46, of Virginia Beach, was charged with rape, robbery and burglary for attacking a 16-year-old as she returned home on December 18, 1993, officials said.  He is charged with choking and sexually assaulting the teen as well as stealing her money and jewelry.

    Vance cited this case to push for expansion of the DNA databank to include those convicted of misdemeanors, saying that would have unmasked Barriera as the alleged rapist back in 2002.  The national databank only collects DNA samples from convicted felons.

    "If the defendant's DNA had been eligible to be collected after his misdemeanor convictions and entered into the National DNA databank, justice for this victim could have been delivered eight years earlier," said Vance.

    It  took nine years to even develop DNA evidence for this 1993 attack because of backlogs in testing rape kits, Vance said. When the genetic profile was finally finished there was no match back in 2003, so the grand jury returned a John Doe indictment  to stop the clock on the 10-year-statute of limitations on the rape.