Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $535,000)
Headquartered in Raleigh North Carolina, the NC State Bureau of Investigation is the lead criminal investigative agency in the state. The agency’s mission, as defined by NC General Statute 143B-915, is to “secure a more effective administration of the criminal laws of our state, and to procure the speedy apprehension of criminals…” The NCSBI works routinely with prosecutors, clerks of court, crime lab technicians, and other partners dedicated to the prevention of violent crime, the prosecution of guilty persons, and the exoneration of individuals shown to be innocent through interviews, testing analysis, and other examinations. In September of 2020, the NCSBI formed a new “Cold Case Investigations Team” (CCIT) consisting of eight active sworn investigators and two retired investigators. A 2017 Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) sub-award provided to the NCSBI from the NC Governor’s Crime Commission has supported training and travel expenses, overtime for the active employees, and a contractual wage for retired investigators.
As of June 21, 2021, the NCSBI’s Records Management System shows 1,018 inactive, unsolved homicide cases. These cases are investigations where all leads have been exhausted and no convictions have been made. The CCIT has reviewed 146 of these cases, scanning for samples of biological evidence such as DNA. The sub-award we received through the NC Governor’s Crime Commission has supported those reviews. Promising leads in several of the cases being re-examined have been established, but no convictions have been achieved to date other than a single confession obtained in 2020 from a suspect who committed homicide in 1980.
If this project is approved for funding, the NCSBI will use $112,500 to support dedicated prosecutors who will assist and advise investigators and pursue these cases in court. Another $78,000 will be used to support consulting and training programs from a “Forensic Genealogist in Residence.” An additional $112,320 will be used to support expedited laboratory testing at private labs, in cases where state government laboratories cannot perform the testing required in a timely fashion to promote project goals. The remaining $167,180 will be used internally by the NCSBI to support contractual wages for retired investigators, travel costs, and overtime wages for current employees. A total project cost of $470,000 over thirty-six months is requested in this proposal.