Oklahoma felon charged with murder as DNA matches cigarette butts found near man stabbed to death 35 years ago
55-year-old Earl Wilson had stabbed and dumped Paul Aikman's body at a rest stop on a toll road connecting Tulsa and Oklahoma City in 1985
LINCOLN COUNTY, OKLAHOMA: A 55-year-old man was charged with murder in a 35-year-old cold case after cigarette butts and fingerprints found at the crime scene where the victim was murdered was matched to the suspect, according to Oklahoma's attorney general.
A press release from Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter's office said that Earl Wilson was charged with first-degree murder of Paul Aikman in 1985. In September of 1985, the body of the victim was found dumped at a rest stop on the Turner Turnpike - a toll road that connects the state's two largest cities, Tulsa and Oklahoma City. At the time, the victim's autopsy report said the cause of death was stab wounds. The authorities also said that robbery did not appear to be a motive behind the killing as 'Aikman's billfold contained cash.'
Although investigators from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation collected cigarette butts and latent fingerprints from the scene where the stabbing death occurred, the time lacked the kind of DNA technology that is easily accessible today. As a result, the case went cold.
"Advances in DNA technology are allowing authorities to take another look at these difficult cases," Hunter said. "Just because cases go cold doesn't mean someone shouldn't be held responsible, even after three decades." He added that he appreciated the fact that OSBI Director Ricky Adams put a priority on the cases through the establishment of the Cold Case Unit.
After there were no new developments in the case fr 33 years, the OSBI criminalists at the Forensic Science Center notified investigators last year that during a search of CODIS, the national DNA database, a potential hit was obtained and matched to Wilson. The next step was matching the latent print impression taken from the crime scene to the suspect, which was also successfully done.
Prison records showed that Wilson is currently incarcerated in the Oklahoma Department of Corrections custody for unrelated sexual battery charges. He is serving a 5-year sentence right now. He faces life in prison if convicted in the first-degree murder charges. It is unclear if Wilson has hired a lawyer for the fresh charge against him.
"For 35 years, Paul Aikman's family has ached not knowing who was responsible for his murder," said OSBI Director Adams. "35 years have passed, but we have not forgotten about Paul. Thanks to science and determined police work by OSBI agents and our Cold Case Unit, we are pleased to announce that the suspect in Paul's murder has been identified."
A few weeks ago, the Columbus Police revealed that they have been able to solve the murder of Kelly Prosser, 8, whose body was discovered in a cornfield after she was kidnapped in 1982. The authorities revealed on June 26 that the Ohio girl had been raped and murdered almost 38 years ago by a convicted criminal who has been dead for almost twenty years now. The police shared that the cold case murder of Kelly Ann Prosser had been solved using DNA and genetic genealogy. The child had been beaten up, sexually abused, and then strangled after she was kidnapped while on the way home from school.