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DNA Technology Used to Crack Murder Case

New DNA technology is helping authorities announce an indictment in the 1996 murder of Lessie Harris. A case that's been cold for a number of years has finally been cracked, and now a suspect is on his way back to Tallahassee to face first degree murder charges.

Many of the residents living along Poinsettia Avenue are new, not there long enough to remember what happened. In July of 1996, the body of then 39-year-old Lessie Harris was found lying in her home.

DET Jim Tyson of the Leon County Sheriff's Office says, "She had substantial injuries; it was very brutal."

DET Jim Tyson with the Leon County Sheriff's Office was handed this once "cold case" last February. He spent a whole year asking himself who and why, then comes a DNA match leading to 46-year-old John Turner.

Jim says, "He indicated to me that it was a burden on his heart and he'd been praying to it and he felt like I had been sent by God to relieve him of this burden."

Tyson says blood found at the scene is what made the link to Turner, new technology at work that wasn't available in 96.

A grand jury has now indicted Turner on a first degree murder charge, a charge which authorities say could result in the death penalty.

Jim says, "You know, this young lady lost her life and I was glad we were able to put some closure to this case, and also for the family."

Turner is currently being held at a Jackson County prison on an unrelated charge. He is expected to be brought back to face this charges very soon.

Meanwhile, members of Harris' family were contacted by letter about the case. The Sheriff's Office has not heard back from them. DET Tyson did say the two possibly knew each other, but an exact motive is unclear.


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