Indianapolis News and Headlines


Cold case arrest made using 'Jenny's Law'

Posted at 7:17 PM, Jan 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-29 19:18:13-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- Jenny's Law went into effect on July 1, 2015. And it is already having an impact on past injustices. 

Todd Richardson was charged Tuesday with attempted rape in a 1990 case. That happened because he had been arrested in October of last year on suspicion of stalking. His DNA was collected in that case and the Indiana State Police matched it to the 1990 case. 

MORE | DNA leads to charges in a 1990 rape case in Lebanon

37-year-old Jenny Wendt Ewing, who now lives in Oregon, praised the arrest. 

"This is a wonderful day. So is every day. But this soars to the top. But because of the arrest of this person utilizing the law that bears your name? You bet," Ewing said. 

Jenny was on hand when Gov. Mike Pence signed the bill into law. She was raped in 2005. But when the person who raped her confessed nine years later, he could not be prosecuted because the statute of limitations had expired. 

PREVIOUS | 'Jenny's Law' signed, extends rape statute of limitations | Governor signs 'Jenny's Law' aimed at rape statute of limitations | Woman seeks to change statute of limitations for rape in Indiana

State Senator Michael Crider sponsored Jenny's Law.

"The whole purpose of the law is to reopen that opportunity for justice who are discovered through DNA, or through video recording, or probably more rare, through a confession," Crider said. 

 But just because DNA is recovered, does not mean the case is a slam dunk. 

"It doesn't necessarily prove a sexual assault. You still need other evidence. The other things they talked confessions, and photographic evidence. Confessions can be false," Crawford said. 

That said, Richardson is free on bond and is scheduled for a jury trial on May 9. 

Jenny believes many, many more cases will be solved because of the law. That will be her legacy. 

Legislators do want to tweak Jenny's Law to make sure it is fully aligned with all of the recent changes in the criminal code. House Bill 1105 is an amendment that has passed that chamber. It now moves to the Senate for consideration.