Michael Harvey is now the third man found guilty of one or more murders of prostitutes and other women in southeast Atlanta in the early 1990’s. As I wrote last week (see here and here), the state missed at least two earlier chances to link Harvey to that crime and get him off the streets: once in 2003, when they were supposed to have taken DNA from him before he left prison for another sex crime, and again in 2005, when they (apparently) got around to testing his DNA and linked it to the murder of Valerie Payton — but then failed to charge him for three more years.
OK folks, the trial is over. When is somebody going to ask the GBI, and Fulton County D.A. Paul Howard, why it is that the rape kit of a women murdered by a probable serial killer, and a DNA sample they could have obtained as early as 1996?
You don’t just wake up one day and stab a woman fifty times, arrange her body for display, and leave a note on her stomach taunting the police — written on the back of a photo of her 8-year old child. Talk about a crime that cries out for justice — and indicates other victims. In fact, Harvey has another sex crime conviction, and a third victim testified at his trial that he raped and threatened to kill her around the same time Payton was murdered.
One would think the GBI would have prioritized getting Payton’s rape kit tested, and maybe they did — or maybe they didn’t. Maybe the APD never sent the rape kit to them. Maybe it’s all the fault of the Fulton County D.A., which had the ability to push for DNA testing when Harvey was convicted for another sex crime and kidnapping in 1996 (got a mild slap on the wrist). DNA had been used to convict sex offenders for a decade by then. Rape and kidnapping had been clearly identified as a social ill, too, though his sentence hardly reflected that. Maybe it’s the fault of the Department of Corrections, which released Harvey in 1999, by which time they should have been databasing the DNA of all felons convicted for sex crimes. Certainly, by 2003, Harvey was required by law to give a sample, when he served time for an aggravated assault. Why wasn’t he identified then?
Where was Michael Harvey between November 1985 and May 1998, after he already had a record, before he was first arrested for a sex crime? Where was he between September 1999 and February 2003, after he was convicted of one sexual assault, sternly scolded for a whole 16 months, then cut loose again? Where was he between June 2003 and his arrest in 2008 for the murder he was linked to in 2005?
Where was he in 2005, when he was identified as Valerie Payton’s murderer but not officially charged for three more years?
Somebody screwed up. Why does nobody care?