The children of murder victim Carol Nelson are channeling their grief into action. Speaking exclusively with Action News, the four siblings spoke out about changing the law to allow for DNA samples to be taken from suspects at the time of arrest. The say such a law would have prevented the brutal murder of their mother by "serial rapist" Glen Shoop.
Daughter Paige Archambault remembers her mother Carol Nelson, a retired nurse, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, "She was a strong person. She did all the right things for her children."
In July of last year, Carol Nelson became the innocent victim of Glen Shoop, a man who had skipped bail after pleading guilty to attacking his own wife. It took two days for investigators to find her body near 7th North Street in Salina. After frantically searching for their mother, Brad Beck says the family learned what happened, "I know every gruesome detail of what happened to her, from the rape to the cigarette burns."
"Life is just not the same anymore when you lose a mother in such a terrible tragic way." adds George Yakulis.
Seven years before the Carol Nelson murder in the year 2000, a woman was violently raped at the Colonial Laundramat in East Syracuse. The rapist got away, but the district attorney's office was able to obtain the suspect's DNA. It didn't come out until after the Carol Nelson murder that the DNA matched Glen Shoop.
District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick told Carol Nelson's children their mother would be alive today if the State Legislature had passed a law. "She's murdered. She's brutally assaulted and then on top of all that she also slipped through the cracks in the system." Archambeault said. "It could have easily been prevented."
Now Carol Nelson's children are ready to take on Albany to change the law to allow DNA to be taken at the time of arrest, like a fingerprint. Currently Police can't take a DNA sample until after conviction. Nelson's daughter Tracy Nigro claims "It's not going to be an invasion of privacy unless you're a career repetitive felon, a rapist maybe a child molester, murderer."
If DNA could be taken after an arrest, when Shoop was arrested for attacking his wife, police would have connected him to the 2000 rape in east Syracuse through the DNA database. Senator John Defrancisco says Shoop would not have been free to kill Carol Nelson. Defrancisco convinced the Senate to pass the bill overwhelmingly, but it got nowhere in the Assembly. "The Assembly, if they took it up, I know it could pass." Defrancisco told Action News.
Glen Shoop will be sentenced to 40 years to life on August 11th, after pleading guilty to the murder of Carol Nelson and the rape in 2000.
Tomorrow, Action News digs deeper into the proposed DNA legislation and why some civil libertarians oppose it.