Criminal investigations delayed due to Illinois crime lab backlogs

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by Russell Kinsaul / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on September 27, 2012 at 1:18 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 27 at 6:20 PM

ILLINOIS (KMOV) -- A backlog of evidence waiting to be tested at Illinois state crime labs is delaying criminal investigations and allowing suspected criminals to stay on the street.

A bond reduction hearing was held this week for 35-year-old Michael Jeter, who's suspected of running over four highway workers on Interstate 64 in Fairview Heights, killing one of them.

The wreck happened on May 22, but it took months before he was ever charged with a crime and booked into jail.

“The time it took was in large part because of the toxicology that had to be done. It takes a long time to get results for those," St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly told News 4.

He said there are 420 cases backlogged at state crime labs waiting for toxicology tests to be run. And that doesn’t count the DNA tests or blood alcohol tests that are also piling up and waiting to be conducted by crime lab technicians.

Last year, it was discovered that state crime labs in Illinois had a backlog of 4,000 rape kits. The state passed a new law requiring all rape kits to be tested within 6 months after the evidence is collected and promised that the backlog would be caught up by 2015.

News 4’s Russell Kinsaul is talking with prosecutors and crime lab officials to find out what’s being done to get caught up on the backlog. Look for his report on News 4 at 5 p.m.

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