DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Detroit police say DNA evidence has helped solved a homicide from 20 years ago.

Officials announced an open murder charge Friday against 57-year-old Johnny Kennedy, who is in prison for another crime. Kennedy apparently has been under suspicion for a few years.

The case involves the death of 27-year-old Tonya Harris, whose nude body was found in a building on Cass Avenue in November, 1993.

Analysis by the Michigan State Police found that Kennedy’s DNA matched evidence from the scene.

Deputy Police Chief of Criminal Investigations David LaValle told WWJ a DNA swab was taken from Kennedy in 2011 before he was due to be released on parole from a second-degree murder conviction in a different case.

“We contacted the Department of Corrections, let them know that he was a suspect in a homicide case and then obtained a warrant from the prosecutor’s office, so he’ll be arraigned and he won’t be paroled,” he said.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said he’s hopeful investigators will continue to solve more cold cases going forward.

“We are rolling out a new, major case squad that will be a collaborative effort between the Michigan State Police and the Detroit Police Department, and part of that work will address cold cases. We recognize that it’s critical. There are many victims’ families here that we certainly want to bring some sense of closure,” he said.

If convicted of Harris’ murder, Kennedy will face life behind bars.

TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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