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Dothan police make arrest in 2003 murder case

Ten years have gone by since the lifeless body of a 40-year-old woman was found at the Bee Line Motel in 2003. She had been beaten to death, law enforcement officials said.

Days ago, Dothan police announced that they had made an arrest for murder in the case.

A 43-year-old man who was reportedly an initial suspect now faces a homicide charge.

Dothan’s WTVY reported that investigators went back to the case and submitted DNA evidence to the Alabama forensic lab. Though officials wouldn’t say what the DNA evidence consisted of, they said the lab matched it to the man now under arrest.

According to another media report, the suspect is currently in a Texas jail on an unrelated charge, but police expect to extradite him here to face charges.

A Dothan police spokesperson said technological advances made the arrest possible and that further advances might make possible future arrests in cold cases.

“That’s why we continue to collect evidence that we perhaps don’t have any way to link it to a crime right now because 10 years from now it may benefit us,” he said.

This past August, the DNA evidence was submitted to a Houston County grand jury along with other materials apparently tying the suspect to the crime scene. Last week, the grand jury indicted the man on a homicide charge.

Officials say the woman killed that May night a decade ago knew the man in custody. Investigators theorize that the pair argued and that the disagreement got out of control, according to the TV station report.

The investigators’ evidence has not been laid out in a court, however, and their theory is yet unproven.

A suspect in similar circumstances should decline to speak with prosecutors or investigators until after a discussion of the evidence and charges with a criminal defense attorney.

Source: WTVY, “10 Year Cold Case Solved,” by Jessica Leicht, Dec. 9, 2013

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