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New technology solves 1984 cold case where suspect stabbed man to death and a woman in face: Police

Matthew Russell Brown murdered Robert A. Miller in the victim's apartment in 1984, police said. (Mugshot: Hennepin County Jail)

Matthew Russell Brown murdered Robert A. Miller in the victim’s apartment in 1984, police said. (Mugshot: Hennepin County Jail)

Though investigators discovered a suspect’s blood at the murder scene, they could not find immediate leads taking them to the man who killed a Minneapolis resident in in the victim’s apartment 39 years ago. That changed this summer.

The Minneapolis Police Department in Minnesota believe Matthew Russell Brown, now 66, stole the life of Robert A. Miller.

The Crime

Officers discovered a tense, bloody scene when they arrived at the apartment building on 3209 Girard Ave. S. that early morning in July 1984.

“Hurry up!” shouted one woman, according to The Star Tribune. “They’re killing him!” A second woman had been stabbed in the face, according to KARE11.

Officers found Miller stabbed to death in his apartment, the Tribune reported. A trail of blood led down the hallway and out the backdoor. Investigators claimed to find blood on the kitchen floor and a doorknob. Officers thought the blood belonged to the killer, believing they most likely hurt himself by the accident.

The two women said that the man, armed with a knife, had broken into the building and attacked them.

And yet responding investigators could not locate any leads actually taking them to the killer. They had blood but not the means to discover whose. That changed after decades of technological advancement.

“As we all know, advances in technology have improved DNA analysis,” cops wrote Friday on Facebook. “Over the past 8 years, MPD homicide investigators assigned to the FBI’s Cold Case Task Force have been working diligently with the BCA Forensics Lab to identify DNA found at the scene and narrow down a possible list of suspects. One lead led to another until the MPD homicide investigators were able to identify a suspect in the case.”

It is Russell, authorities claim.

More Law&Crime coverage: Cold case rape and murder of woman believed to have been beaten to death with wine bottle in 1981 finally solved

A Break in the Case

In 2018, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension established a DNA profile of the suspect, investigators said, according to the Tribune. Investigators finally managed to get Russell’s DNA from a disposable cup he threw away, they reportedly said. It allegedly contained DNA matching blood on the scene.

Investigators said that they interviewed Brown, an Illinois resident, in early June. Russell lived in the city of Angleside, records show.

They arrested him after that and booked him into an Illinois jail until his extradition to Minnesota, they said. He is charged with second-degree murder and first-degree burglary.

Russell is scheduled to be in court Monday.

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