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DNA Links Texas Man To Chicago Cold-Case Murder, Prosecutors Say

By Erica Demarest | November 4, 2016 9:43pm
 Ramon Smith, 42, is charged with murdering a local theater director in 2003.
Ramon Smith, 42, is charged with murdering a local theater director in 2003.
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DNAinfo; Cook County Sheriff's Office

COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — New DNA evidence has linked a Texas man to a 2003 Chicago murder, prosecutors said Friday.

Bradley Nelson Winters, 51, was found dead in his Lincoln Park apartment on Aug. 19, 2003, after he failed to appear for work at Northwestern University for several days, Assistant State's Attorney Jullian Brevard said during a bond hearing Friday.

Winters lay naked and unresponsive in a pool of blood, prosecutors said. He'd been strangled and stabbed multiple times, according to an autopsy.

Blood smears were found throughout the apartment — lining walls, appliances and cabinets in the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom, Brevard said. There was no sign of forced entry, but a back door was left slightly ajar.

According to prosecutors, neighbors reported hearing a disturbance in the early morning hours of Aug. 18, 2003.

Police collected blood samples from Winters' apartment in the 500 block of West Belden Avenue. There weren't any matches until earlier this year when 42-year-old Ramon Smith was convicted of a drug case in Texas, Brevard said. Smith's DNA was entered into a national database and came back as a match to Winters' case.

According to prosecutors, Smith's DNA was found in Winter's living room and bathroom, on his wallet and under his fingernails. It's not clear how the men knew one another; prosecutors did not identify a possible motive.

Smith, of Dallas, Tx., is charged with first-degree murder. Cook County Judge Laura Sullivan on Friday set bail at $1 million.

According to the Tribune, Winters worked as a theater director. 

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