Fingerprint pinpoints suspect in fatal 1994 Cleveland stabbing - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Fingerprint pinpoints suspect in fatal 1994 Cleveland stabbing

Linda Booker (Source: Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office) Linda Booker (Source: Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office)
A grand jury has charged Linda A. Booker in the 1994 stabbing death of a 70-year-old Cleveland man, Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy McGinty announced.

Booker, 43, faces one count each of voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter and felonious assault for the knife attack that killed George Ellington, a retired city of Cleveland employee, on Nov. 9, 1994. Read the full indictment here.

Acting on a warrant obtained by the Cleveland Police Department, U.S. Marshals arrested Booker at her mother's house in Birmingham, AL, on Feb. 9. She was extradited to Cuyahoga County and is scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday, March 18, at 8:30 a.m.

A roommate of Ellington's told detectives in 1994 that a partially-clothed woman had stabbed the victim and run from their apartment on Thackeray Avenue near East 55th Street. However, he was unable to identify assailant.

Investigators were able to find a latent fingerprint on a glass that the witness said the attacker had held. But at the time, there was no match in law enforcement files.

In late 2013, the Cold Case Unit in the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office noticed a reference to the fingerprint while searching old police reports for unsolved cases that had biological evidence. Working with the Homicide Unit of the Cleveland Police Department and using the national Automated Fingerprint Identification System, which did not exist in 1994, they were able to pinpoint Booker as a suspect and build the case.

A subsequent interview conducted by the FBI uncovered additional critical evidence.

"Our Cold Case Unit homicide investigators would not let this case go unsolved," said Rick Bell, chief of the Special Investigations Division in the prosecutor's office, which includes the Cold Case Unit. "After reading the old reports and matching the print, they hit the streets hard interviewing witnesses. They worked together with the Cleveland homicide detective and the FBI to hold Booker accountable for this homicide. If not for this one fingerprint, she would still be on the run today."

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