SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A Connecticut man accused of beating and fatally stabbing an 83-year-old widower during a 1989 break-in at the victim's home in Pacific Beach left his DNA in the residence, both in a blood stain on a bedroom drawer and a cigarette butt in the main bathroom, a prosecutor said in her closing argument Friday.
Howard Dean Jamison, 53, is accused of stabbing Ewing C. Scroggs in the back with the victim's butcher knife on the night of Dec. 8, 1989.
The victim, who lived alone, was not found until two days later, Deputy District Attorney Allison Worden said.
Jury deliberations began in the courtroom of Judge Laura Halgren.
If convicted of murder and murder during a burglary, Jamison faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Worden told jurors that Jamison killed Scroggs, then rummaged through the victim's dresser drawers and belongings before leaving.
The prosecutor discounted defense contentions that there was not enough evidence to convict the defendant.
Defense attorney Troy Britt told the jury that Jamison was in Scroggs' home at some point, but that doesn't mean he killed the victim.
Worden said that Jamison was in San Diego at the time of the murder and stayed for only two weeks. When the victim's body was discovered, Jamison was arrested as a fugitive from Connecticut and extradited back to that state.
Worden said the case went cold until 2003, when the blood stain on the drawer and the cigarette butt could be tested for DNA.
In April 2009, authorities using a national database matched the DNA found at the crime scene with DNA taken from Jamison, and he was arrested on Aug. 24, 2009, in Milford, Conn. Upon his arrest, the first thing Jamison asked for was a cigarette, the prosecutor said.
Worden said only DNA from Scroggs and Jamison was found in the victim's home.
"These detectives worked for 20 years and they never gave up," Worden told the jury. "When the defendant murdered Mr. Scroggs and burglarized his home, he left his DNA."
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