Bentaas fighting murder charge over DNA sample

Published: Mar. 14, 2020 at 10:40 AM CDT
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A judge will decide next week whether DNA evidence collected in Theresa Bentaas's trash can be used in her April murder trial.

The ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights nonprofit, filed a joint brief Monday in the Bentaas case in Second Judicial Circuit Court in Minnehaha County. According to

, they are arguing that while it is legal for police to rifle through someone’s trash for evidence, “extracting and sequencing a DNA sample found on that item” should first require going to a judge for a warrant. Not doing that, the groups said, violates the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Bentaas is accused of leaving an infant to die on the side of the road in 1981.

Jury selection in her trial was scheduled to begin September 3, 2019. However, the trial was pushed back to April.

The Minnehaha County State's Attorney's office said last year that the trial has been delayed because all parties are trying to find a time that witnesses are all available.

Bentaas was arrested back in March in connection to the 38-year-old cold case. Investigators say they identified Bentaas by using DNA and genealogical tests.