After over a decade, Colorado police believe they have found new evidence warranting a 1999 cold murder case to be reopened. The man whom police suspect to have been involved in the murder was already incarcerated on a completely unrelated charge. Now he faces a new charge: felony first-degree murder.

In 1999, police discovered the body of a 30-year-old woman outside in the snow, and forensics discovered that the woman had been strangled to death. The accused man was the victim’s boyfriend, and the two apparently had a notably rocky relationship. The two purportedly had attended a party together on the night of her death where they drank and supposedly did cocaine, but police could not find evidence on her actions and whereabouts shortly before her death. At the scene, the snow further complicated evidence collection, hindering the case further.

Originally, the accused man was a person of interest in the case because of his relationship with the victim. However, sufficient evidence to attempt to prosecute him was not found, and with no other viable leads, the case became cold. The case was reopened in 2011, and police re-interviewed those associated with the case and resubmitted DNA evidence until they found a DA who was willing to move the case forward and formally accuse the man of murder.

The biggest problem with reviving cold case files that are over a decade old is that many types of evidence are lost or become less reliable over time. That being said, as the man’s criminal proceedings move forward, it is possible that Colorado prosecutors may realize that they do not have sufficient evidence to prove the murder charges against the man beyond a reasonable doubt. If this does occur, the man’s charges could likely be reduced or ultimately dropped from court entirely.

Source: Colorado Daily,
Longmont police make arrest in 1999 cold murder case, Pierrette J. Shields, Dec. 4, 2013