COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — Prosecutors say they've solved a more than three-decade-old Edgewater homicide thanks to a DNA hit on an already imprisoned rapist.
Confronted with the fact that his DNA matched evidence found on the scene of the 1981 murder of Carol Novak, Eugene Booker confessed, prosecutors said.
"He said 'Oh, no. Oh, no,'" Assistant State's Attorney David Coleman said in court Friday.
Booker said he understands DNA doesn't lie — and then asked police to give his regards to Novak's family and tell them "I'm sorry about what happened to her," Coleman said.
Police found 35-year-old Novak dead and partially clothed in her living room in the 5800 block of North Paulina Street in Edgewater about 6:15 a.m. Oct. 2, 1981, Coleman said.
Novak had been stabbed 50 times in her eye, back, abdomen and neck, Coleman said. There were trails of blood throughout the home, prosecutors said, and Novak's dog had been fatally stabbed in the head.
Though police recovered a man's blood and semen on the scene, Coleman said, no one was ever charged and the case went cold. Last year, detectives reopened the case by sending away evidence for DNA analysis.
The evidence ended up being a positive match to now-59-year-old Booker, who's currently serving 80 years in prison for multiple sexual assaults and battery, Coleman said.
When police interviewed Booker, he denied knowing the victim, Coleman said. Booker claimed he wasn't familiar with Edgewater and had never been inside the woman's home.
But Booker quickly changed his story when police presented the DNA evidence, prosecutors said.
Booker was charged with first-degree murder this week and ordered held without bail on Friday.
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