A beer can on a blood-splattered table at a gruesome crime scene could be the key to solving a 31-year-old murder.
Leo Beauregard, 67, was found in his condo in South Florida in the US with a seven-inch stab wound to his neck and a handwritten note by his side on June 29, 1990.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported the cryptic note contained an address for a man named Mark while a calendar from 1989 found in his apartment had "Mark's Birthday" scrawled on June 26.
When combing the crime scene, police also found a can of Busch beer on the table. The publication reports detectives believed the culprit had a sip of the beer after the fatal stabbing.
Police were stumped over who committed the crime, with authorities even bringing in a psychic to describe the suspect's physical appearance while holding the beer can and a bloody towel. It led to no arrest.
While the case over time went cold, police later revealed DNA from the beer can could help them convict the alleged killer.
"From 1990 to 2019, the science of DNA analysis evolved by leaps and bounds, and is now being used to prosecute previously unsolvable cases as well as exonerate potential suspects," Assistant State Attorney Reid Scott said in a court filing on May 19, according to The Sun-Sentinel.
The DNA found on the can matched that of Mark Steven Gribbin who has been charged with first-degree murder.
He has not been convicted of the crime, but his DNA was found on the can last August.
Mr Scott said the note found at the home, as well as the DNA on the can, was evidence that Gribbin had a personal relationship with the victim and had been in contact with him at the time of the alleged murder.
"The defence has raised numerous points and these are points that can be raised at trial and ultimately a jury will decide," Circuit Judge Daliah Weiss said, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
Claims beer can was tampered with
However, the publication reports Gribbin's lawyer, Assistant Public Defender Courtney Wilson, told the judge that the beer can proved nothing.
"We have no idea when that DNA got on that can," she said.
"It's not a murder weapon."
With Gribbin's trial set for August, his legal team claims the beer can had been tampered with, stating the psychic had touched it during the early investigation.
The Sun-Sentinel reports the can had also been contaminated in a lab at the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, with an employee's DNA detected on it.
However the prosecutor said the most significant thing was that Gribbin's DNA was found on the can.
"The evidence is clear that the defendant himself drank from that can after murdering Beauregard," Mr Scott said, according to the publication.
Gribbin's murder trial is set for August and he could face life in prison if convicted.
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