Advances in DNA know-how led to the arrest of a person within the 1997 capturing dying of a teller throughout a financial institution theft in California, authorities introduced Tuesday.
On April 28, 1997, two robbers disguised as development employees sporting raincoats, exhausting hats and pantyhose over their faces went inside Western Monetary Financial institution in Thousand Oaks and demanded cash from the workers, Ventura County Sheriff Jim Fryhoff mentioned throughout a information convention.
Only a few months into her new job, 39-year-old financial institution teller Monica Leech and two different workers have been pressured right into a vault, advised to unlock and open the protected and handcuffed by the robbers, based on the sheriff.
Leech was pressured to get on her knees and shot within the head at shut vary, District Legal professional Erik Nasarenko mentioned.
“Monica was cooperative and never a menace to the financial institution robbers, so investigators don’t perceive why she needed to be shot,” the sheriff mentioned.
The 2 robbers acquired away with about $11,000 in money and Leech died from her accidents, based on the sheriff.
“This was a mindless, unprovoked and harsh homicide,” Nasarenko mentioned.
Detectives initially recognized two potential suspects within the financial institution theft, together with a person named Kevin Ray James. “However there was not sufficient proof at the moment to carry the suspect to justice and the case finally went chilly,” the sheriff mentioned.
Chilly case investigators reopened the case in 2021 and, due to advances in DNA know-how, have been in a position to isolate and amplify DNA discovered on the crime scene, in the end linking 55-year-old James to Leech’s killing, officers mentioned.
James was arrested at his residence within the metropolis of San Bernardino – 25 years after the lethal theft – and charged Monday with first-degree homicide, two particular allegations of homicide whereas engaged in a theft and use of a firearm, based on the Ventura County District Legal professional’s Workplace.
CNN has reached out to James’ authorized representatives for remark. He stays in custody within the Ventura County jail with out bail and is anticipated to be arraigned April 13.
Whereas James is in custody, authorities are nonetheless searching for the second suspect within the case.
“We wish the general public’s assist to carry the second perpetrator to justice,” Nasarenko mentioned.
A $30,000 reward supplied by the FBI and the Metropolis of Thousand Oaks remains to be accessible for data main police to the second suspect within the case, Fryhoff mentioned.