Officer's Memory, Fingerprints Lead to Arrest in 1981 Slaying

Los Angeles police have made an arrest in a 16-year-old murder case, thanks to a detective's memory and sophisticated computer analysis, authorities said.

Karl Franklin Stewart of Los Angeles was arrested last weekend on charges of murder, second-degree robbery and first-degree residential burglary stemming from the 1981 slaying of Enid C. Whittlesey, 86, who was repeatedly stabbed in the Cimarron Street home where she had lived 40 years.

Police were led to Stewart, 41, when several recent Inglewood murders of elderly women reminded Los Angeles Police Det. Frank Bolan of the Whittlesey case. Bolan wanted to see if the fingerprints of a suspect in that case matched a bloody print taken from the Whittlesey scene.

They did not. But while checking a massive computerized file of fingerprints--developed since the initial Whittlesey investigation--an LAPD print expert found a match with Stewart's. Authorities said Stewart was about to be released from the Los Angeles County Jail, where he had been serving time for a domestic violence conviction, when he was arrested.

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