Story by: Tiana Bohner
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) – A new Nevada legislative bill, AB 142, would open the window of time to prosecute sex assault cases.
“It’s DNA. It’s not he said, she said,” Assemblywoman Lisa Krasner (R) said. “We don’t have to worry about memories fading. With our modern technology, we have DNA evidence.”
The statute of limitations would only be lifted in a case that has DNA evidence. Currently, the statute of limitations is 20 years in Nevada. That means if a case is any older, it can’t be prosecuted. Now Nevada representatives want to follow 26 other states in changing that.
“I mean I waited 20 years. My family has waited 20 years,” Marie Coker said. “I can imagine how many families have waited even more than ours.”
Marie Coker’s sister Nadia Iverson was raped and killed in Las Vegas in a high-profile 1997 case.
“She was 20 years old, it was around her birthday,” Coker said.
A rape kit was done. But then for 19 years, it was radio silence.
“Not hearing from anybody, not getting answers, not knowing, it’s like, okay, is this just our new norm for the rest of our lives?” Coker said.
The family waited and prayed for answers, wondering who killed Nadia.
“You have that hope, you have that need for justice, you have that need for answers,” she said. “And to not get that truly for 21 years has been life altering and crippling to our family as a whole.”
Then in 2016, there was a break in the case. Nadia’s rape kit was tested. Arthur Sewall, a former Metro officer, was a match.
“It doesn’t undo what a victim has endured,” Coker said.
For decades, Coker has been an outspoken advocate, pushing police to test an enormous backlog of rape kits.
In an assembly hearing on Monday, Nevada’s Attorney General Aaron Ford said of the 8,000 untested kits, 95 percent have been sent out for testing.
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