CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Lawmakers propose bill allowing use of genetic tests in murder cases

Feb 13, 2023, 2:38 PM | Updated: Feb 14, 2023, 8:05 am

Utah lawmakers proposed a bill spelling out exactly how police can use genetic tests like 23andMe i...

FILE: A photo of Sherry Black and her first granddaughter taken in 1990 sits on a shelf in B&B Billiards and Books in Salt Lake City on Monday, Nov. 28, 2011. Black was brutally murdered in her bookstore in 2010. Photo credit: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah lawmakers are looking at spelling out exactly how police can use genetic tests like 23andMe in criminal investigations.

Lawmakers have proposed a bill after the technology successfully solved hundreds of cold cases access the country.

The bill, sponsored by Todd Weiler was circled in committee, meaning it’ll still have to be discussed again before it moves forward.

More specifically, Senator Weiler’s Bill is inspired by the 2010 murder of Salt Laker Sherry Black.

Her family spoke in support saying police were able to finally give them peace after tracking down her killer.

Sherry’s daughter testified in a senate committee today. “This tool has allowed us to move forward focusing on the happy memories with my mom and given us a sense of peace back that we have lost,” said Sherry’s daughter. 

If this bill passes, police could use DNA from Ancestry and genetic tests, but only in certain cases like murder.

But there were concerns from public comments that it doesn’t do enough to protect personal privacy.

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Lawmakers propose bill allowing use of genetic tests in murder cases