A Connecticut man fatally beat and stabbed an 83-year-old widower during a 1989 break-in at the victim's home in Pacific Beach, a prosecutor said on Wednesday, but a defense attorney said there was no evidence linking his client to the killing.
Opening statements were delivered in the trial of Howard Dean Jamison, 53, who 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.
Worden told jurors that Jamison killed Scroggs, then rummaged through the victim's dresser drawers and belongings before leaving.
"You're meeting a murderer," the prosecutor told the jury as she pointed to Jamison. "A cold-blooded killer."
Worden said the case went cold until 2003, until a blood stain on a drawer and a cigarette butt found in Scroggs' bathroom 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.
Worden said Jamison was in San Diego at the time of the murder. Within three days of the killing, the defendant was arrested on a probation violation from Connecticut and extradited back to that state.
Defense attorney Troy Britt told the jury in his opening statement that Jamison had been in Scroggs' home, but he was "completely innocent" of murder. Britt said no one could pinpoint when Jamison was in the victim's residence.
"He did not kill Ewing Scroggs," the defense attorney said.
Britt said there was no evidence linking Jamison to the victim's body.
"There's nothing that links Mr. Jamison to the murder," his attorney said.
Jamison's DNA was not found under the victim's fingernails and the defendant's DNA was not present on the bloody knife or the victim's pants pockets, which had been pulled out, Britt told the jury.
Jamison, charged with murder and murder during a burglary, faces life in prison without parole if convicted.
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