The 1991 murder of an elderly woman from Pennsylvania remained unsolved until recently. DNA evidence led police to her suspected killer, but the authorities are now having to fight to get him back to Pennsylvania to face these charges because he is fighting extradition.
The man accused of the 76-year-old woman’s murder has served prison terms in six states. He is a military veteran who has lived his life as a transient and was known for asking people for money. His lifestyle is part of the reason why he has been tied to the murder.
Currently, the man is in a Minnesota jail in connection with unrelated charges of assault and terrorist threats. The information about his identity in relation to the murder came about when a cigarette butt found in the woman’s vehicle was sent to a crime lab in 2007. The DNA on the cigarette butt matched a profile in the FBI database. The DNA information in the database was obtained in connection with a rape in Illinois.
The governors of Pennsylvania and Minnesota have both signed the extradition paperwork, but the man doesn’t agree that he should be extradited. He has asserted his innocence and notes that he wasn’t in Pennsylvania at the time the woman was murdered. He was released from a Pennsylvania prison four to six days prior to the woman’s murder. Instead of taking the bus to Philadelphia where he was supposed to report to a halfway house, it is believed that he took a bus to the station near the murder victim’s home.
The charge against the man is currently criminal homicide. It is noted that this includes first-degree, second-degree and third-degree murder. Once the man is back in Pennsylvania, the charge is expected to be changed to either first-degree murder or second-degree murder. This means he would face life in prison without the possibility of parole.
People who are facing charges like this, no matter where or from how long ago, should be sure that they understand their rights. This can help throughout the criminal justice process.
Source: Herald & Review, “Former Decatur man charged with homicide in 1991 cold case,” Huey Freeman, Jan. 28, 2017