Police identify third suspect in 20 year old cold case murder - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Police identify third suspect in 20 year old cold case murder

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Authorities publicly identified a third suspect in a car-to-car shooting that killed a young woman in front of her boyfriend and 10-month-old child at an Encanto intersection 20 years ago.

Aswad Amirah Walker, 38, was serving time at Centinela State Prison in Imperial County for an unrelated conviction when he was identified as an alleged participant in the cold-case murder of 18-year-old Crystal Odom.

He was booked into San Diego Central Jail late last month and is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow.

Shortly after 10:30 p.m. on April 29, 1995, Odom was driving near Wideman Memorial Park when a car containing five people pulled up alongside her vehicle at 65th and Akins streets, according to San Diego police. One of the occupants of the compact sedan opened fire, killing Odom with three bullets to the head and neck.

The Morse High School senior's fiance and her baby daughter, Aaliyah, survived the attack.

The case remained unsolved until several months ago, when detectives received tips from the public that helped them identify suspects in the killing, Lt. Paul Rorrison said.

On July 14, detectives arrested Jamar Phillips, 37, and Samuel David Sayles, 38, on suspicion of participating the fatal shooting. They have pleaded not guilty to murder charges and are awaiting trial. Authorities have not publicly identified the alleged shooter.

Investigators expect more arrests in the case, Rorrison said.

Police also have not disclosed a suspected motive for the shooting, but Odom's mother, Gloria Jimenez, has speculated that the assailant may have been trying to target the victim's boyfriend over some past dispute, or perhaps was a gang member out to commit a random killing to gain criminal status.

A few minutes before the murder, the victim and her fiance had seen the sedan the shooter was in at a gas station at 69th Street and Imperial Avenue, and the latter recognized one of its occupants from school, according to Jimenez.

Though no words were exchanged, Odom, an "A" student and ROTC member who hoped to seek a career as a probation officer, had gotten a "bad feeling" from the encounter and left without fueling up her car, the mother said at a news conference last spring marking the two-decade anniversary of her daughter's death.

Walker is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday.

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