A suspect in the brutal 1986 stabbing of an Escondido man will make his first court appearance on Monday after a bloody handprint helped authorities tie him to the slaying more than three decades later.
Nathan Eugene Mathis, 62, of Ontario, California was arrested on April 18 on one count of murder in connection with the killing of 75-year-old Richard Finney, police said.
Finney, 75 lived alone in an apartment on East Mission Avenue and was found by authorities in November 1986 with 31 stab wounds from two different knives, according to homicide investigators.
“It was a rather violent homicide,” Escondido Police Chief Craig Carter said.
Even after using State-of-the-art DNA testing in 2007 to reexamine the evidence the Escondido Police cold case team could not find a match.
Then, in 2016, Forensic Fingerprint Expert Cassaundra Barnes used new technology to examine a fingerprint collected from the apartment, police said.
“She re-photographed it with newer equipment, more advanced technology and she was able to submit that fingerprint for a match,” said Carter.
Investigators say the higher quality print combined with advances in fingerprint comparison databases, led them to Mathis.
Mathis lived in the North County at the time of the killing.
Police said Mathis did not show any emotion when he was arrested. He was booked into the Vista Detention Facility and held on $3 million bail.
Escondido police did not discuss a possible motive and did not say if Mathis and Finney knew each other.
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Source: NBC San Diego