Updated: Dec 30, 2012 12:46 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) — A New Mexico law is awaiting the president’s signature to become a federal law.
Legislation named after a slain New Mexico State University student
passed both the U.S. House and Senate.
Saturday Governor Susana Martinez reacts on what this means for New Mexico and the nation.
It's called Katie’s Law named in honor of
Katie Sepich who was raped and murdered in 2003.
Governor martinez has a very close connection to the bill, she was the prosecutor in the case..
“Kidnapped her, raped her, murdered her, put her in his truck, took her to the dump and put her on fire…trying to loose any forensic evidence that was left behind,” Martinez said.
Governor Martinez describes what Gabriel Avila told her the day he was sentenced.
He killed 22-year-old Katie Sepich almost 10 years ago.
Avila spotted her walking home from a party and killed her outside her home.
He was arrested later that year for a burglary, but his DNA was not pulled until he was convicted three years later.
During that time no one knew he was Katie’s killer.
The governor has said if Katie’s Law was in effect then, they would have known a lot sooner.
“We have been doing since 2006,” Martinez said.
That's when Katie’s Law went into effect.
Now anybody arrested for a felony must provide a sample of their DNA.
It's helped put rapists like Jesus Oscar Dominguez behind bars.
The illegal immigrant was caught raping women in Clovis last June, because of Katie’s Law, his DNA sample helped connected him to their cases.
The governor says Katie’s Law cuts down on all types of crime.
“Because now you have caught the person that committed the one you walked in on and the one that they committed before, but you also exonerate people,” Martinez said.
A move she says will have the same impact across the nation.
Katie's Law passed both the U.S. House and Senate unanimously Friday, but Governor Martinez says it wasn't easy.
And she has been making constant phone calls clearing up misconceptions before the final vote.
“This was just funding if you wanted it only seed money not new money was redirected money and I don't know everyone understood those fine details,” Martinez said.
The states will not be forced to implement Katie’s Law, the bill simply gives them the funding and resources to do so.
Twenty five other states already have similar laws.
A version of Katie’s Law is
stirring up controversy in Maryland. A convicted rapist claims his constitutional rights were violated when his DNA was collected for a different crime.
The U.S. Supreme Court is reviewing the case.
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