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New DNA Evidence Leads To Arrest In 2005 Port Richey Slaying

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Pasco County deputies arrested a man last week they say is responsible for a 2005 murder in Port Richey.

Deputies say a 34-year-old man has been linked by DNA evidence to the murder, but the evidence they say they have in hand now was not available in 2005 due to less-developed technology. The defendant had been a suspect since the earliest stages of the investigation, but prosecutors felt that the evidence against him was too weak to justify charges.

Authorities say the defendant broke into the home of a 79-year-old woman in 2005, killed her and her dog, and absconded with whatever medication and money he could find. Already strongly suspected to be the perpetrator of a rash of similar robberies, the investigation centered on him.

However, a dearth of evidence at the scene placed the defendant there, say investigators. Friends of the defendant declined to offer investigators information on the defendant, leaving them primarily with a single hair that could possibly tie him to the crime.

Investigators obtained a warrant to take a sample of the defendant's hair in 2009 while he was in prison, but nothing usable was extracted due to a long backlog of cases and a lack of sufficient technology. The lead investigator continued to check back with the case as the years passed, but no further evidence emerged for several years.

However, investigators say witnesses slowly began cooperating, giving them testimony of the defendant with bloody clothing and telling that he had committed a crime strikingly similar to the unsolved murder. Finally last month investigators had in hand what they consider compelling evidence matching the hair at the scene to the defendant.

The defendant was arrested on December 26 and booked into the Pasco County jail on a single charge of premeditated murder. He continues to remain in jail while he awaits trial.

The Law Offices of Bjorn Brunvand have been representing people charged with capital murder, felony drug charges, drunk driving, government fraud, and white-collar crimes for over a quarter century. Contact our office today to discuss your Tampa Bay-area state or federal charges.

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