DNA links dead man with no criminal record to 1987 killing

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Authorities say DNA evidence linked a man who died 11 years ago to a rape and killing in South Carolina in 1987.

Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright said Monday advancements in DNA testing allowed his investigators to crack the killing of 44-year-old James Larry Smith who was attacked and beaten with a hammer in his Taylors home in December 1987.

Wright says Roger Wayne Switzer lived in the neighborhood and was already in the home after raping Smith’s girlfriend.

Authorities say Switzer died in February 2008 from natural causes at age 51. He had no criminal record.

Wright said at a news conference the State Law Enforcement Division used new DNA testing techniques. Several recent cases have been solved through DNA samples submitted to private genealogy sites.

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