Timothy Wilson: The Use of DNA in United States

I’m a big science geek…I love the wonder of science and how science plays a BIG part in forensic science. I’ve spent the majority of my career doing the ‘DNA’ thing—sampling, extraction, cell work—ya know, some of the cool stuff.

So with the marriage of DNA and forensics, thanks to Sir Alec Jeffreys, I became even more of a science geek. Sir Alec Jeffreys and the Colin Pitchfork case revolutionized the use of DNA in investigations by showing the world how science can help convict (and exonerate) individuals.

Read more about Sir Alec Jeffreys and Colin Pitchfork Case here.

Back in September 1987 DNA was barely known and yet it became a power house in the case of the Southside Strangler (Timothy Spencer).

Coined the Southside Strangler, Timothy Spencer was convicted of raping and strangling four women over 11 weeks in 1987. There were no victims to identify him and no fingerprint evidence was found at the scenes. The only thing that linked him to the crime scenes was the results of the DNA tests: semen found at the crime scene was linked to his blood.

This year will mark 30 years since he was convicted of murder based on DNA evidence and thus becoming the first person in the United States to have DNA evidence presented during his trial.

DNA is now considered a foundation in investigations such as veterinary forensics, wildlife forensics, and is now more common place than ever. With kits that promote people tracking down their ancestry, DNA continues to be a powerful tool.

Watch here to learn more about Timothy Spencer and the use of DNA in his case.