EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSCOLD CASE CRACKED
from Eyewitness News Online
14 Year Old Charleston Murder Case Cracked By DNA Hit
Reported by: Leslie Rubin
Videographer: Matt Durrett
Web Producer: Leslie Rubin
Reported: Jan. 18, 2013 6:09 PM EST
Updated: Jan. 18, 2013 6:22 PM EST
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Almost 14 years later and a Charleston cold case is cracked wide open. DNA evidence took police straight to the man they say killed a woman and left her naked body along a busy road in 1999.
Now, the family of Terry Clark can breathe a long awaited sigh of relief that her alleged killer will pay for what police say he did all of those years ago.
"Her death was very violent," explains Lt. Steve Cooper of the Charleston Police Department. Clark, 41, was found beaten and strangled alongside a Roane County road in May 1999.
Police believe Clark was murdered inside her Lewis Street apartment before she was dumped along Route 119 outside of Walton.
"It was a case that I always wanted to solve and a lot of work went into it," Cooper says.
For years, Cooper tried to piece together the puzzle and figure out who wanted Clark dead and why. Suspects were questioned and let go because their DNA didn't match what was found inside her apartment and on her body.
"We did have good DNA at the scene of the crime from whoever the suspect was that had killed Ms. Clark," Cooper says.
Little did Cooper know that in a Memphis, Tennessee jail cell sat the man who police say has now confessed to killing Clark. That man is Daniel Turner.
Turner is currently serving federal prison time for guns and meth, and submitted a DNA sample when he started serving his sentence last year.
Back at the West Virginia State Police Crime Lab was the DNA from Clark's murder. Through a system called CODIS, the two samples were a perfect match.
"Due to the manner in which she died and due to the fact that we wanted to get some closure and justice for her and her family it was very exciting to get that news," Cooper says.
A Kanawha County grand jury indicted turner for murder on Friday.
"He actually lived within a couple of miles from where her body was found, said Cooper.
"As time goes on, cases get weaker, however when you do come up with enough evidence to move forward with a prosecution its very gratifying," said Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants.
A cold case now closed thanks to science, and dedicated investigators who never stopped trying to find her killer.
Eyewitness News spoke with several family members of Clark, they did not wish to go on camera and say they are still dealing with the emotions that are now being brought up again 14 years later. They say they look forward to having their day in court.
Turner will be extradited back to West Virginia and is expected in court in February.
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