DNA from beer can leads to arrest 25 years after fatal stabbing, Orange County MPs say


ORANGE COUNTY, Florida. – Orange County MPs believe they solved a 25-year-old man using DNA evidence from a discarded beer can.

Kenneth Stough Jr., 54, was arrested Tuesday on charges of stabbing a convenience store clerk in February 1996.

MPs were called to the Lil ‘Champ mini-market at 4510 Clarcona Ocoee Road by 7 a.m. on February 3, 1996. A man was walking past the store and saw that the lights were out, which was unusual as the store was generally open at this time, the records show. This man then called the sheriff’s office.

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When the deputies arrived, two employees of an armored vehicle service were on site to collect the deposit for the store, but the building was locked. Investigators attempted to call the store number but received no response, according to the arrest affidavit. They also spotted a car in the parking lot, which they determined belonged to Terrence Paquette, according to records, but could not reach him at his personal phone number.

MPs said a Lil ‘Champ employee who lived in the area and had closed the store the night before, passed by and spotted the presence of law enforcement. He stopped to see what the problem was and provided investigators with the keys to the store, according to the records.

When MPs entered inside, they found Paquette in the bathroom, dead with 73 stab wounds, according to the affidavit.

MPs said there was a large amount of blood in the bathroom and around the store, showing where the killer had been in the store. Samples were taken and investigators determined that not all of the blood was Paquette’s, records show.

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At the time, detectives could not identify where the second blood samples came from, and the case turned cold in 1997.

In March 2021, detectives submitted the sample of unknown blood to a genealogy database and discovered the blood was from a person related to Kenneth Stough Sr. and Carol Ann Crawford, according to records.

MPs said they found out the two were married and had three sons. Additionally, they discovered that Kenneth Stough Jr. had lived opposite the victim at the time of the murder, according to the affidavit.

Detectives said they discovered Kenneth Stough Jr. now lived in Eustis and began the surveillance. Eventually, investigators said they saw the man throwing a bag of empty beer cans into a public trash can. The cans were recovered and Kenneth Stough Jr.’s DNA was recovered from the discarded cans.

The DNA was tested and came back as matching the unknown blood sample recovered from Lil ‘Champ in 1996, investigators said.

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Kenneth Stough Jr. faces charges of first degree murder with a weapon and theft with a deadly weapon.

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