John Walsh, host of America’s Most Wanted, will be presenting the award at a luncheon hosted by the family of Katie Sepich, a young woman who was brutally raped and murdered in Aug of 2003, and whose family has established a nonprofit organization called DNA Saves. Since Katie’s death, DNA Saves has advocated state laws that mandate the taking of DNA samples upon felony arrest, many of which are now known in each state as “Katie’s Law.” Senator Malloy receives this award due to the immense time and research he spent on the issue of DNA arrestee legislation as both the chair of the Senate Judiciary Criminal Justice System Task Force and a chief sponsor of the DNA arrestee legislation that was enacted in South Carolina in 2008.
A native of Chesterfield County and a Hartsville resident, Senator Malloy has been a member of the South Carolina Senate since 2002. He chaired the Senate Judiciary’s Criminal Justice System Task Force, which identified DNA arrestee testing as an important tool for law enforcement to use to reduce the recidivism rate of violent offenders in South Carolina. Some of the research discussed during the debates on this legislation included the results of a 2005 study of eight convicted felons conducted by the city of Chicago, in which it was discovered that 60 violent crimes could have been prevented if DNA had been collected for a prior felony arrest from these eight convicted felons. These eight felons accumulated a total of 21 felony arrests before law enforcement officers were able to convict them of violent crimes. Other research from a study in Maryland demonstrated that 20 violent crimes could have been prevented if DNA samples had been taken from three individuals at the time of their first felony arrest. To date, 21 states an the federal government have enacted DNA arrestee laws. In addition, post-conviction DNA testing has led to the exoneration of more than 200 wrongfully convicted individuals, and many of these individuals were not exonerated until after a DNA match was made on the database to another offender, which would probably not have occurred without DNA arrestee testing.
DNA Saves feels that Senator Malloy’s contributions to enacting DNA arrestee legislation in South Carolina deserves recognition and appreciation for a law that will benefit many in the succeeding years. In presenting him this award, Katie’s family wants to let Senator Malloy’s constituents know that he is a hero to them as well as to the many victims of violent crime.
“This will be a vital tool for law enforcement and it is essential that we provide our law enforcement with the best tools to keep our citizens safe. This methodology is already used by the Federal Government and should be a logical extension to our State,” said Senator Malloy.