Brianna's Law Up for Second Try at Nevada Legislature - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Brianna's Law Up for Second Try at Nevada Legislature

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Two mothers urged Nevada lawmakers to pass a bill they believe could have saved the life of a Reno woman raped and murdered in early 2008.

The duo testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday in support of SB243 -- Brianna's Law.

Brianna Denison was raped and murdered after being kidnapped off a friend's couch in early 2008. Her mother, Bridgette Zunino-Denison, was joined by Jayann Sepich whose daughter was also raped and murdered.

The bill they support would require suspects arrested for a felony in Nevada to submit to a DNA swab test.

Brianna's mother believes James Biela's criminal record may have led to his arrest before her daughter was killed if his DNA had been collected.

Supporters contend if Biela's DNA had been on file from his previous arrests, he would have been stopped long before her attack. They are hoping to spare future victims.

The bill is sponsored by State Senator Debbie Smith. "I feel this bill is about public safety and justice and it can help solve crime. It can get dangerous people off the street and exonerate the wrongfully convicted."

Sepich's daughter helped enact the same type of law called Katie's Law in New Mexico. She shares the Denison family's heartbreak. "We also share a belief that DNA is the fingerprint of the 21st century and that it should be used just like a fingerprint."

Ed Smart, the father of kidnapping victim Elizabeth Smart, also attended the hearing. "I believe DNA will further this country in solving unresolved crimes and in exonerating those who have been wrongfully convicted."

But - the bill also raises concerns about civil rights. "Currently it reads that DNA taken from felony arrests, I think that should be changed to violent felonies, or felonies of a sexual nature," says Steve Yeager.

"We as a country and a state have to decide if there's a diminished expectation of privacy when you are arrested. We believe there is not, but that you are innocent until proven guilty."

The cost still remains unknown too. Testing prices could range from $2 an arrest to $75. If the bill is approved, they plan to pass that cost on to those tested.

So now it will be set for a work session and sent to the finance committee to figure out what it would actually cost and how to pay for it, and then it would move on to the Assembly.

This same law was introduced through the Assembly last session. It got to the Senate but didn't vote on it before the session ended.

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