Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $535,000)
Lack of cold case investigation and prosecution prevents finality for family and loved ones of homicide victims. Since Madam District Attorney Willis started the Cold Case Unit in 2021 we have been able to reach out to local law enforcement agencies to initiate a fresh look at unsolved cases. As of June 9, 2021, 10 of Fulton County’s local agencies have reported 839 unsolved homicides. With the grant award of $470,000 across 3 years, the unit will offer new forensic analysis and investigative resources which will allow us to use modern day technology to assess cold case evidence with local agencies. We will hire an experienced Investigator, a consultant to assist us with the entering of criteria cases into ViCap, travel costs to interview witnesses and funds to afford lab testing of evidence. This review process will uncover new leads to actively work and/or identify evidence that can be used to collaborate past witness accounts or open up new questioning for these parties. Through a multi-disciplinary team approach local agencies and resources will be vested in solving cold cases, and together we can leverage experts and resources to make a difference in bringing compassion and closure to families. Within 18 months of identification, 25% of cold case homicides for which a suspect has been developed from newly tested DNA evidence will be charged, indicted or dismissed; our deliverable: Law Enforcement List of decreased Cold Cases. 25% of unresolved violent crime cold cases where suspect DNA has been identified will be resolved; our deliverable: Odyssey Report of Cold Cases. Capacity of prosecution to address/close violent crime cold cases will be increased by 75%; our deliverable: Survey of local law enforcement. And 25% of cold cases will be identified, located, collected, processed, and analyzed to assist prosecutors with the litigation of violent crime cold cases; our deliverable: Odyssey Report of decreased number of Cold Cases. Cold cases in Fulton County, the largest county in the state of Georgia with a population of more than a million residents (1,075,472), remained uninvestigated and unprosecuted for many years, as violent crime continues to rise. Fulton County is 534 square miles, with 15 municipalities, and poverty over 20% in 80 census tracts. Its largest city, Atlanta, is the capital of Georgia, where homicides are historically high and continue to increase.