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DNA, Breaks Cold Case From 1988 in Man's Slaying of Aunt

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Blood splatter evidence from the scene of a church burglary last year have tied a Kansas City man to the brutal slaying of his aunt over about $14 nearly 16 years ago.

Claudia E. Walker, 58, was killed in her home on April 3, 1988, stabbed 53 times and strangled. On Thursday, Jackson County prosecutors charged her nephew, Jerloin C. Weaver, 34, with first-degree murder and armed criminal action.

Weaver became a suspect in the case in October, when DNA from blood found at one of the series of church burglaries was matched to DNA from the the old homicide case. Last year Weaver told police that he and two other men took part in the burglary. Detective Rob Blehm said the DNA did not match the other two men, but was not tested against Weaver.

But after the DNA was linked to the Walker killing, police obtained a search warrant to get a sample of Weaver's DNA, and tests completed Wednesday showed a match with that in the homicide.

Police arrested Weaver Wednesday night and questioned him, and he was being being held on bond Thursday night.

According to court records, Weaver is accused of going to his aunt's house to ask her for money, and that after she caught him trying to take cash from her purse, he punched her, knocked her to the ground, and stabbed her several times with a kitchen knife until he thought she was dead.

But as he was rifling through her purse, she stood up and asked him, "Why? Why? Why?"

It's alleged that Weaver then stabbed Walker repeatedly with a second knife before strangling her with his hands. He's accused of taking about $14 from Walker's purse and fleeing, returning later to get a television and stereo which were traded for crack cocaine at a drug house.

"This was an extremely brutal crime," said Rehm. "This woman was fighting for her life."

Weaver was never charged in the series of dozens of church burglaries because he helped implicate the other two men.

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