Three Decade Old Murder Mystery Solved Using DNA - NBC Southern California

Three Decade Old Murder Mystery Solved Using DNA

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    Three Decade Old Murder Mystery Solved Using DNA
    Riverside County Sheriff
    Riverside County sheriff's homicide detectives solved the 1977 murder of a Rubidoux bartender by submitting hair found clenched in the victim's hand. DNA showed that the hair belonged to Frank Wright, who died in 2002.

    Riverside County sheriff's homicide detectives solved the 1977 murder of a Rubidoux bartender by submitting hair found clenched in the victim's hand to a private laboratory in Texas for DNA testing, a sheriff's sergeant said Tuesday.

       The DNA test showed that the hair belonged to Frank Wright, who died in 2002 from complications related to alcohol abuse at the age of 50, said Sgt. Scott Brown of the Riverside County sheriff's Central Homicide Unit.
      
    James Anagnos, who was known as ``Jimmy the Greek,'' was found dead Oct. 18, 1977 inside his bar at closing time, Brown said.
      
    Anagnos was stabbed 20 times with a steak knife and had been hit four times in the head with a blunt object, Brown said, adding that the cause of death was from injuries to his head.
      
    The hair was found clenched in Anagnos hand, and was believed to have come from the suspect, but the laboratory at the time was not able to match the hair samples to Wright.
      
    Wright was identified as a suspect when detectives learned he was involved in an argument with Anagnos about an hour before the bar's closing, according to Brown.
      
    There were no independent witnesses to the attack, so the District Attorney's Office did not file charges against Wright, Brown said.
      
    The hair was sent earlier this year to Orchid Cellmark, a private lab in Texas, for testing, he said.
      
    The DNA test confirmed the hair found in Anagnos' hand belonged to Wright, according to Brown.
      
    This was the third case solved by the Cold Case Unit since being awarded a grant by the National Institute of Justice.
      
    The sheriff's Cold Case Unit is examining more than 70 unsolved cases that may have DNA evidence, Brown said.