Seventy-five miles west of Raleigh, a North Carolina case went cold decades ago. But a man was recently arrested in the case and charged with murder and sexual assault.
Police say he assaulted and killed a 7-year-old girl more than 23 years ago in Greensboro.
Some readers might recall the case and the fact that another man was arrested in the immediate aftermath of the girl’s death. Two years after the arrest of a cafeteria worker diagnosed as mentally disabled, a court found him not guilty in the crimes.
As the case shows, just because horrific charges are filed against a person in a tragic case does not mean that the defendant should be presumed guilty.
Fortunately for that innocent man, he had an attorney able to persuade the court that his client had not committed the heinous acts he was accused of.
In the much more recent arrest, the man in custody is accused of being an acquaintance of the girl’s parents. They had known him for approximately a month, and had had him over to play cards at their kitchen table before their daughter disappeared.
The man, then 29 years old and now 52, lives in South Carolina.
Law enforcement officials said that a detective who was assigned the case back in 2007 began reviewing the evidence, eventually developing leads and conducting interviews.
One of those interviews eventually led the detective to arrest the man now held in custody. Police also credited unnamed advances in forensics technologies with enabling them to develop evidence that they say points to the new suspect.
He was apparently arrested at his Spartanburg home and will be extradited to North Carolina to face accusations.
Source: News & Record, “Update: Family knew man accused in girl’s death,” Joe Gamm, Jan. 7, 2014