A Big Revival In Cold Case Prosecutions In New York City


The successful prosecution of a California man for killing two New York City women in the 1970s was the most dramatic sign that a revival in unsolved murder investigations was under way across the city, reports the Wall Street Journal. The surge comes despite the decimation of the New York police cold-case squad, a once-vaunted unit that lost resources as the department shifted money and personnel to fight terror. Prosecutors and detectives attached to the city’s district-attorney offices are leading the effort now. Their work has been aided by advances in DNA-based forensic techniques, and today’s reduced murder rate in New York has freed up investigators to reinvestigate old killings. The medical examiner’s office has had 85 inquiries in six months from prosecutors and investigators probing cold cases, said Sheila Dennis, head of the office’s cold-case team. She called that a “significant increase” in interest compared with the years before the city began to draw on cold-case grants awarded by the National Institute of Justice.

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