‘No more excuses’ for rape kit backlogs, prosecutor says

Mid-South

(NewsNation) — The revelation that the suspect in the kidnapping and killing of Eliza Fletcher was also the alleged perpetrator in a 2021 rape is raising questions about whether Fletcher’s killing was another tragedy that could have been prevented.

A recently tested rape kit from a case in September 2021 was connected to Cleotha Abston, the man charged with killing Fletcher. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said the kit from the 2021 case was not submitted as a rush case, and thus was placed with the standard casework, which can have an average turnaround time of 33 to 49 weeks.

Florida State Attorney Dave Aronberg said it’s a tragedy the kit wasn’t tested sooner and should have been prioritized because it was for an “unknown assailant.” Speaking Monday on NewsNation’s “Rush Hour,” Aronberg said there’s “no more excuses” for backlogs of sexual assault evidence kits because of federal funds that are available to help process them.

Watch the full discussion in the video above.

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