Statement of Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato on Approval of Familial DNA Matching by DNA Subcommittee of the Commission on Forensic Science

"Two of the first constituents I spoke with after taking office were Phil and Cathie Vetrano, who at that point had had to wait six long months past their daughter's murder for any leads to turn up. Instead of turning inward, the Vetranos made Karina's case into a true search for justice. They dedicated themselves to equipping New York police with a tool that's led to breaks AND exonerations in ten other states, plus England. And when their own case got a break without the need for Familial DNA matching (FM), they didn't let up for a second, not wanting any other family to go through the painful delay they went through in getting justice for their daughter.

"With today's unanimous approval of FM by the DNA Subcommittee of the Commission on Forensic Science, which was considered to be the most challenging hurdle to passage, New York State is very close to adding its voice to this search for justice. If the Commission accepts the Subcommittee’s recommendations, it will say that, as a government, we are absolutely committed to using all available tools to convict the guilty and free the innocent. I strongly urge the Commission to do so at their next meeting; we expect that they will.

“It has been an honor to be a part of this fight. I want to thank and congratulate every member of the Subcommittee, our relentless police, our excellent Queens District Attorney, Richard Brown, and his team, and of course the Vetranos, for keeping the faith and keeping up the pressure. It's because of you all that we will soon finally have a New York State more committed and better-prepared to administer justice than we did when Karina was killed. And in this awful story of loss, that's a real accomplishment and something we can feel good about."