Fingernail DNA test leads to suspect’s arrest, 42 years after murder


A more than 40-year-old murder case could be solved after authorities collected the DNA sample from under the murdered woman’s fingernails.

The plot straight out of a fictional book unfolds in reality in Las Vegas, USA, where 25-year-old Sandra DiFelice was brutally raped and murdered on December 26, 1980.

Apparently, after officers from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department re-examined the case, they decided to use modern technology to test DNA taken from under Murdered DiFelice’s fingernails.

Consequently, earlier this week on Monday, police announced that they had arrested Paul Nuttall, 64, on suspicion of being responsible for the rape and murder of the woman.

“After Paul Nuttall’s arrest, my cold case investigators had the pleasure of making the one phone call that every cold case detective wants to make,” Las Vegas Police Lt. Jason Johansson said during an interview. ‘a press conference.

“I hope that somehow this will provide some sort of closure for the family,” added Johansson.

Read more: 50 years later, FBI identifies ‘Lady of the Dunes’ murder victim using DNA analysis

Notably, DiFelice, a new mother was found dead in a bed by her boyfriend after moving to Vegas from Boise with a childhood friend.

DiFelice’s daughter, who was only three at the time, was at her grandparents’ house when the murder took place. In February last year, she called the department’s cold case detectives and asked for an update on the case.

As WION reported earlier this week too, it was DNA testing that helped a wrongfully convicted man get real justice.

WATCH | 1999 Baltimore Murder Case: Charges Drop Against Adnan Syed

Maurice Hastings, 69, was released from a California prison after serving 38 years for a 1983 murder and two attempted murders, which he, in fact, never committed.

In 2000, he requested DNA testing of material collected by the coroner from the murdered woman’s body.

The DA, however, denied his request. It wasn’t until last year that DA’s Conviction Integrity Unit tested the material and discovered that the murdered woman’s semen was not Hastings’.

Read more: USA: Man wrongfully imprisoned for 38 years released after DNA test

(With agency contributions)



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