KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A backlog of criminal cases in Kansas City, Missouri once amounted to about 5,000, but thanks to federal grant money prosecutors and investigators say they have whittled that down to only a few hundred.
An analyst can process about 100 cases a year. Without the grant money, they could not pay the analyst, said Scott Hummell, Kansas City Crime Lab.
"If all crime stopped today, I would still be working cases for the next couple of years. I mean there's that much that can be done unfortunately," said Hummell.
Federal grants received since 2009 have led to 32 DNA cold case arrests, including last year's conviction of the so-called Waldo Rapist, Bernard Jackson. DNA connected him to a series of rapes in the 1980s.
Harry Campbell, 33, was about to be released last year after serving time for gun convictions when the Kansas City Crime Lab connected his DNA to a 1995 rape. However, the statute of limitations had run out on the rape charge and instead, a jury convicted him Wednesday of robbery.
His case is the 32nd DNA cold case solved since 2009.
"We've had amazing success with these cases. A 96%-plus conviction rate," said Ted Hunt, a chief trial assistant with the Jackson County Prosecutors office.
Without the grant money, prosecutors say they wouldn't have the staff to try cases where time is already an issue.
"Memories fade. You have people pass away. You've got people move out of the jurisdiction. You might have evidence lost so it really does effect the practicality of prosecuting these cases," said Hunt.