A suspect in the 1998 slaying of a 12-year-old Escondido girl was back in state prison after a knife was found in his possession at a halfway house in Northern California, 10News reported.
Richard Raymond Tuite (pictured, left), 32, was arrested and returned to prison two weeks ago following the discovery of the knife during a routine search.
Linda Ward, a spokesperson for the state Department of Corrections, said that the possession of the weapon was a violation of Tuite's parole. He will face a hearing within 30 days to determine if he will remain in prison or be released to the halfway house.
Tuite, who is on parole for an attempted-burglary conviction unrelated to the slaying of Stephanie Crowe (pictured, right), is a key suspect in the girl's stabbing death. She was found dead in her Escondido home on Jan. 28, 1998.
The medical examiner determined that the girl had been stabbed nine times.
Several witnesses told authorities that they saw Tuite near the Crowe house on the night of the girl's murder. He was questioned by Escondido police but dismissed as a suspect.
Stephanie's teenage brother and two of his friends (pictured, left) were originally charged with the crime.
Charges against Michael Crowe and the other two teens were dropped when DNA testing revealed that blood on a sweat shirt Tuite was wearing on the night of the crime belonged to Stephanie.
Tuite, who has not been charged in connection with Stephanie's murder, maintains his innocence.
The recent arrest is the fifth time in 18 months that Tuite has been returned to prison for violating parole. It's the first time his return involved possession of a weapon.
A year ago, Tuite left the halfway house and made his way to Escondido before being arrested not far from the Crowe's house.
In February 2000, Escondido police turned the Stephanie's murder investigation over to District Attorney Paul Pfingst. In June of this year, Pfingst decided to pass the case to the state attorney general's office for evaluation.
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