Offbeat: Decades after 75-year-old West Baltimore woman's killing, trial begins in cold case revived by DNA - - PressFrom - US
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Offbeat Decades after 75-year-old West Baltimore woman's killing, trial begins in cold case revived by DNA

20:06  12 june  2018
20:06  12 june  2018 Source:   msn.com

Two shot overnight Sunday in Baltimore; police name weekend victims

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— Tim Prudente, baltimoresun.com, " Decades after 75 - year - old West Baltimore woman ' s killing , trial begins in cold case revived by DNA ," 12 June 2018 But can bots wrap us in their big metal arms and give us a squeeze that provides the same sense of comfort as a human hug?

A 75 - year - old woman was bound, gagged, and suffocated to death. Officers found her in bed and naked below the waist. Newport Beach police make arrest in cold case murder from 1973, possibly the slaying of 11- year - old Linda O'Keefe. The DNA researcher Moore has been on the forefront of

a person standing in front of a house © Handout

Police made the grisly discovery decades ago inside a West Baltimore rowhouse.

A 75-year-old woman was bound, gagged, and suffocated to death. Officers found her in bed and naked below the waist. Anna Dorthea Smith had been sexually assaulted and killed in 1981.

On Monday, 37 years later, sheriff’s deputies led Phillip Lee into a Baltimore courtroom to stand trial in her death.

“She had actually been bound, so she could not use her arms,” Assistant State's Attorney Jennifer Hastings told jurors. “She had a piece of fabric stuffed very hard in her mouth. … This was horrifying.”

The case against Lee hinges on DNA recovered from sperm on Smith’s bed, tested years after her death. During opening arguments, Lee’s defense attorney told jurors that evidence was tainted over the years.

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A 75 - year - old woman was bound, gagged, and suffocated to death. Officers found her in bed and naked below the waist. Anna Dorthea Smith had been sexually assaulted and killed in 1981.On Monday, 37 years later, sheriff’ s deputies led Phillip Lee into a Baltimore courtroom to stand trial in

Decades after 75 - year - old Anna Smith was suffocated to death in her West Baltimore rowhouse Police made the grisly discovery decades ago inside a West Baltimore rowhouse. A 75 - year - old This was horrifying.” The case against Lee hinges on DNA recovered from sperm on Smith’ s bed

“The problem is the evidence control area in Baltimore City has been a mess — it’s a mess,” assistant public defender Jane McGough said. “All these items were moldy.”

With short, graying hair, the 58-year-old Lee nodded along. He has an eighth-grade education and psychiatric problems, McGough told jurors. Lee is charged with murder, burglary and sex offenses.

It was a long road that led police to bring the charges against him.

Back in 1981, Smith lived independently on West Fairmount Avenue in the Shipley Hill neighborhood. Jurors saw a photo of her in a pink house dress standing before flowers.

On Dec. 7 of that year, her neighbor called police after noticing Smith’s back door cracked open. Detectives found the door had been pried.

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A man was arrested 46 years after 11- year - old Linda O'Keefe was killed , thanks to DNA . A man has been arrested through DNA and genetic genealogy in the decades -old cold case killing of 11- year - old Linda Ann O’Keefe, who was strangled to death in Southern California in 1973

How DNA solved a decades - old case of woman found murdered near Lake Tahoe. "This isn't knowledge that you want," says cousin to murdered woman Forensic genealogists identified Silvani and her killer , James Richard Curry, using decades - old DNA evidence recovered from a rape kit.

Inside, the only light came from her sewing machine, Lt. Terrence McLarney told jurors. Her chair was pushed out; there was cloth under the needle.

“She may actually have been startled while she literally sat at her sewing machine,” said Hastings, the prosecutor.

She said police found Smith bound on the bed. She was gagged with a ball of cloth. A sweater was wrapped around her head. And her stockings were down at her ankles. She had been dead for a few days.

Investigators wrapped her in the bedding and brought her body for an autopsy. Police cataloged and bagged the blankets in the evidence room of the Baltimore Police Department.

With no witnesses or additional evidence, the case languished.

“Forensic testing as we see it and hear about it today didn’t exist,” Hastings said. “This essentially became a classic cold case.”

The Cold Case Unit reviewed the evidence in 2005, suspecting DNA tests unavailable in 1981 may bring new leads. They found and tested sperm from the bedding.

Man charged with killing sheriff's deputy pleads not guilty

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According to KGAN, cold case investigators were able to lift the suspected killer ’ s DNA off crime scene evidence in 2006 Janet Martinko spoke to KGAN eight years after the killing of her daughter, saying she didn't think the case I can’t say that — I thought at the beginning it would be, but not anymore

DNA and genetic genealogy led to the arrest this week of an Indiana man accused of killing a little girl in Eight- year - old April Tinsley is seen here in an undated file photo. "From the Indiana State Police to the The cold case began April 1, 1988, when April was reported missing. Her body was found in a

Baltimore police sent the results to be cross-checked with the state's DNA database, which includes profiles of sex offenders and other criminals.

Court records show Lee has been convicted of drug possession, drug manufacturing, and burglary. It was not clear when Lee was required to submit his DNA to the state as a convicted felon.

The match between him and Smith's killing came in 2008, three years after Baltimore police submitted the DNA samples from Smith's homicide to the state crime lab.

It took another three years for police to interview Lee, and another three for them to obtain an arrest warrant. In September 2014, a grand jury indicted Lee on the charges.

“Mr. Lee’s sperm is on the blanket where Ms. Smith was killed,” Hastings told the jury Monday.

But the evidence had all been tainted by flooding in 2003, said McGough, the defense attorney.

Hurricane Isabel flooded the evidence room with three feet of water, she said. Paper bags with evidence from Smith’s case were floating; later, they were filled with mold, she said.

A T-shirt had washed in that didn’t belong, McGough said.

“The T-shirt had nothing to do with this case,” she told jurors. “That’s the evidence they have for you.”

Lee has repeatedly denied the charges. His trial is scheduled for four days, and he remains the only person charged in Smith’s death.

On Monday, prosecutors told jurors of another twist in the cold case. They found DNA on the blanket from an unidentified second man.

tprudente@baltsun.com

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Experts: Half of evidence vanished from 1983 racial slaying .
Experts with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation say half the evidence collected from the scene of the 1983 slaying of a black man has vanished, but witnesses have come forward to say the defendant admitted to the killing just hours after the body was found. Frank Gebhardt is on trial for what prosecutors describe as the racist slaying of Tim Coggins.The case went unsolved for decades. Prosecutors now believe Gebhardt and another man, William Moore, stabbed, cut and dragged Coggins behind a pickup truck because he was dating a white woman.

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