Reverend still looking for answers after arrest in daughter’s 2018 Slavic Village murder

DNA links suspected killer to 2018 Cleveland cold case

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Nearly two years after a reverend's daughter was found brutally murdered in Slavic Village, police have made an arrest in her case.

Jamal Kukla, 26, has been charged with aggravated murder.

19 Investigates found Jasmine Washington’s murder had been marked a priority case by the Cleveland Homicide Review Task Force last year.

Jasmine's family hopes this arrest brings them the answers they've been looking for.

But her family is upset with how they found out about the break in her case.

“I just want people to know that my daughter wouldn't hurt nobody,” said James Washington Sr.

He still can't believe his oldest daughter is gone.

Jasmine, a 31-year-old mother of three, was beaten to death.

Her body was found hidden behind church steps in September of 2018.

“But she didn't bother nobody, she knew God. And… why my daughter?” Washington said.

Cleveland police said Jamal Kukla murdered Jasmine Washington in 2018.
Cleveland police said Jamal Kukla murdered Jasmine Washington in 2018. (Source: Cleveland police)

The Cleveland Homicide Review Task Force's investigation led them to Kukla.

According to the arrest warrant, they got a sample of his DNA and it matched DNA evidence collected from the crime scene.

19 Investigates discovered Jamal Kukla had one arrest in his past.

He was arrested for aggravated disorderly conduct, a 1st degree misdemeanor, in 2014 and ordered to attend anger management classes.

We also found Kukla’s most recent address in Cleveland is just 3.5 miles away from Broadway Christian Church in Slavic Village, where Jasmine’s body was found just a half mile from her apartment.

Jasmine Washington was found dead outside of this church September 17, 2018.
Jasmine Washington was found dead outside of this church September 17, 2018. (Source: WOIO)

“I don't recognize the guy's name, I looked at it, I've never heard of this guy,” Washington said.

Washington is relieved there's been an arrest, but he's angry about how he found out.

“I have a whole lot of questions, and I want some questions answered. I need answers, I mean c'mon, it's been almost two years. Almost two years. And how I find out that it's a suspect that's arrested is through Ch. 19?” he said.

“I should have been the first person that they contacted, not you guys telling me—not you guys telling me that they have somebody in custody,” he said.

Washington is ready for the suspect's day in court.

“And I want to face this person. I want to be able to tell this person how I feel about what he did. I want to face this person, and I really want to ask this person, why my daughter?” he said.

Our investigation last year found Jasmine's case is one of more than two dozen cases assigned as a priority to the Cleveland Homicide Review Task Force.

It's made up by Cleveland Police and the FBI.

Cleveland Police told 19 News they have reached out to Jasmine's family, and they make every effort to make sure families are aware of any progress in their case and will continue to do so in the future.

But they said sometimes arrests happen very quickly.

No court date has been set for the suspect yet.

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