A 53-year-old woman was arrested last week and returned to Raleigh from her Georgia home to face a murder charge in a killing that took place almost exactly 12 years ago.
The arrested woman was taken into custody by police and charged in the Oct. 24, 2001 beating death of a 91-year-old Raleigh woman.
The 91-year-old was found dead in her west Raleigh home of blunt force trauma, officials said.
The Georgia woman used to live near the elderly victim, police said.
A Wake County District Attorney said police had recently conducted interviews in the cold case. Something one of those witnesses said apparently triggered a deeper look into the activities of the Georgia woman a dozen years ago.
“You ask (a witness) a question, and all of a sudden they say something, and you go back and look at what you have and say, ‘Oh yeah, there’s a piece of physical evidence that this witness has talked about, and it’s never been talked about before,'” the prosecutor said.
He did not elaborate about what the witness said or about which piece of physical evidence allegedly ties the Georgia woman to the cold case all these years later.
The arrested woman had been questioned in the wake of the 2001 killing, but investigators never charged with anything in the case, a retired homicide detective told a media outlet.
At the time, police apparently found a tire iron in bushes by the victim’s home; the tire iron reportedly “fit the make and model of a car” the arrested woman drove back then, according to a report.
The motive for the killing was apparently robbery, police said.
Clearly, such a serious charge brought so many years after the crime presents a number of legal and logistical challenges for prosecutors. Witnesses can be notoriously unreliable just days after an event; after a dozen years, they might be even less reliable.
These are among the matters for a criminal defense attorney to examine closely and carefully in preparation of a defense.
Source: WRAL, “New witness interviews led to Raleigh cold case arrest,” Oct. 24, 2013