DNA tests aid in arrest in 1996 killing

May 13, 1998|By Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan | Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan,SUN STAFF

County police, through DNA testing of blood samples, have tracked down and arrested a suspect in the killing of a Pasadena man in 1996.

Richard Wayne Brooks, 33, of no fixed address was arrested yesterday and charged with first-degree murder in the Dec. 24, 1996, shooting and stabbing death of James Francis Holtgreve, police said.

Police said they matched samples of Brooks' blood with blood retrieved from the inside of Holtgreve's right rear pants pocket.

"Nothing's going to bring my son back," said Holtgreve's mother, Naoma Blankenship. "But at least I know who did it. It puts a lot of closure to unanswered questions."

Blankenship said police told her they think her son, whose wallet has not been found, was killed during an attempted robbery. She said she does not know Brooks but that police said her son might have known him through friends.

The 32-year-old Holtgreve was attacked as he answered the front door of his home in the 700 block of Seaborne Court between 9: 30 p.m. Dec. 23 and 12: 30 a.m. the next day, police said. Nothing was taken from the home except Holtgreve's wallet, police said. The victim's housemate found his body just before 12: 30 a.m., police said.

Police said that when they interviewed Brooks after the killing, he told them he and Holtgreve were involved in business together and that he had visited Holtgreve's home once or twice that December.

In March this year, Detective Richard Alban obtained a search and seizure warrant to collect blood, hair and saliva samples from Brooks. The DNA match was made in a laboratory analysis.

"I'm angry that someone would take his life this way," Blankenship said. "No one deserves to die this way. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about him. I keep waiting for him to come back, but he's gone."

Pub Date: 5/13/98

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