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20-year-old homicide solved with DNA

TNS Regional News • Mar 22, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Hamilton detectives have solved through DNA testing a 20-year-old homicide that left an elderly man dead.

A hair sample found clinched in the victim’s hand was enough to identify Wendell Proffitt as the culprit in the Oct. 18, 1994, stabbing death Emerson Skinner, 76, who was found dead in his Ludlow Street home.

Skinner was found lying in a pool of blood and it was obvious to investigators that he put up a fight. He had several defensive wounds along with several long human hairs clinched in his hands that belonged to his assailant.

Hamilton detectives conducted an extensive investigation. Throughout the years, 28 people were interviewed, but none could be positively linked to the murder.

In the past year, detectives began reviewing the case. With the many technological advances in DNA testing, detectives contacted the Ohio Bureau of Investigation and requested their assistance in reviewing the physical evidence, specifically the hairs that were recovered at the scene. Eventually DNA testing positively identified Proffitt from the 28 hair samples collected from possible suspects.

Proffitt, who died of a drug over dose in 2002, was one of the suspects early on in the investigation, but detectives were unable to conclusively connect him to the crime. Proffitt had an extensive record with the Hamilton Police Department, which included a felonious assault with a knife charge in October 1996.

Detectives recently met with Skinner’s family members and confirmed for them that the case had finally been solved.


By Lauren Pack - Journal-News, Hamilton, Ohio (MCT)

©2014 the Journal-News (Hamilton, Ohio)

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