DNA match solves case of California waitress killed in 1996


MARTINEZ from California – A DNA match helped investigators solve the murder of a San Francisco Bay Area waitress whose body was found in a restaurant’s basement bathroom 25 years ago, the authorities announced on Thursday.

A murder charge was filed by prosecutors against inmate Danny Lamont Hamilton, alleging he drowned Priscilla Lewis in an attempted rape and burglary at a restaurant in the town of Crockett on September 24, 1996, according to a Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office press release.

The case went unresolved for decades after investigators interviewed dozens of people, submitted extensive evidence for analysis and executed several search warrants, the statement said.

Last year, detectives submitted additional evidence to a DNA crime lab and correspondence returned that linked Hamilton to the crime, the statement said.

He is serving a life sentence in a state prison near San Diego after being convicted of sexual assault charges unrelated to Lewis’ death, authorities said. It was not known if he had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf.

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Troy Kinslow, a cousin of Lewis who grew up with her in the nearby town of Port Costa, said his murder had haunted him for years.

“I was across the street at the bar drinking and saw her on her break,” Kinslow said. “And the next morning I went to the store to buy something to drink and a friend said to me, ‘Have you heard of her? “”

He said he urged detectives three years ago to reconsider the case.

“They said to me, ‘You have been on us.’ My thousands of texts and calls triggered them, ”he said.

Kinslow added: “It was a long process and it was very tiring emotionally and physically, but I never gave up.”

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