Suspect May Be Tied to Louisiana Murder : Crime: Man held in Florida college killings is the focus of an inquiry into a triple slaying near his hometown in 1989.
The main suspect in the slaying of five Gainesville college students may be linked to a 1989 triple murder in Louisiana, police said in an affidavit unsealed Monday.
The affidavit in support of a search warrant was released as jury selection began in a robbery trial for Danny Harold Rolling. The trial began a year to the day after the first two victims were found in Gainesville.
Last week, police in Shreveport, La., Rolling’s hometown, obtained blood, saliva and hair samples from Rolling in an investigation of the Nov. 4, 1989, triple slaying.
The affidavit from Shreveport Detective Don Ashley said Rolling’s saliva will be compared to saliva swabbed from a bite mark on the breast of victim Julie Grissom, 24. Grissom, her 55-year-old father, Tom, and 8-year-old nephew, Sean, were stabbed to death. Authorities believe that she was the target.
The affidavit said also that Rolling, 37, lived in Shreveport during late 1989, jogged at the same track as Grissom and, on the day of the slayings, was fired from his job at a restaurant, a mile from her home.
Fiber evidence and hair from Rolling’s car were turned over to the FBI for comparison to samples found at the murder scene.
“The FBI has advised the Shreveport Police Department that hair recovered from the Grissom house and Rolling’s vehicle have been microscopically compared and found to have similar characteristics,” the affidavit said.
Shreveport investigators said fresh blood, saliva and hair samples were needed to confirm their suspicions and to create a DNA profile.
Mary Lou Cuellar, Rolling’s lawyer in the Tampa robbery trial, last week lost her fight to keep the affidavit sealed. She feared that its disclosure and the publicity of the Gainesville anniversary would make it impossible to pick an unbiased jury.
Rolling is charged with holding up a grocery and starting a shootout with deputies a few days after the last bodies were found in Gainesville. He has been in jail since September after pleading guilty to holding up an Ocala supermarket.
No one has been charged in the Gainesville murders, but authorities have named Rolling as the prime suspect and Edward Humphrey as a second suspect.
Families of the five Gainesville dead gathered Monday in that college town for the laying of a wreath at a memorial created last year at a graffiti-covered wall. Five bouquets of white roses sat in vases at the base of the wall.