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BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Supreme Court is considering arguments over whether a man whose DNA linked him to the 1987 rape of an 8-year-old Billings girl can be charged with the crime.

The statute of limitations for the three counts of sexual intercourse without consent expired in May 2001. In 2007, a new state law said a DNA match would add a year to any expired statute of limitations in sexual assault or rape cases.

A DNA match to the 1987 rape was made in 2014 and Ronald Dwight Tipton was charged in November 2015.

The Billings Gazette reports District Judge Mary Jane Knisely denied Tipton’s motion to dismiss in November saying the 2007 law was clearly meant to apply retroactively.

Tipton asked the Supreme Court to weigh in. The state argued Monday the 2007 law was intended to solve cold cases.


Information from: The Billings Gazette,