30-year-old San Diego homicide case solved by DNA evidenceAround the City, Latest Issue Thursday, March 16th, 2017
A May 8 preliminary hearing was set for a prisoner who was recently charged with murdering a 15-year-old boy who had been sexually assaulted nearly 30 years ago.
A DNA profile was developed due to recent advances in forensic technology and it matched Russell Taylor, now 56, who was serving a sentence of 25 years to life at San Quentin State prison for other crimes.
Taylor pleaded not guilty Feb. 14 in San Diego Superior Court to the April 28, 1987 murder of Dewan Emerson who vanished at 11:30 p.m. after telling his mother he was going to talk to a man who had come by his house in Valencia Park. He told his mother he knew the man and would only be a few minutes.
The next day two workers from the San Diego Trolley spotted his nude body at the bottom of a drainage ditch in the 5200 block of Naranja Street. Emerson had been strangled. An autopsy showed his hands had been bound and he was sexually assaulted.
Taylor was 26 years old at the time and lived in San Diego, but it is not known how he met Emerson.
Taylor was later convicted of two counts of attempted murder in a separate incident June 10, 1987, according to court records. He served a prison term, but after his parole, he was convicted of a drug offense in 2000.
San Diego Police reported that a witness saw a black male, around 17 to 18 years old, running in the 5100 block of Groveland Street the night of the murder.
Taylor had qualified as a third strike defendant in 2000 and was sentenced to 25 years because of the two prior attempted murder charges. He was extradited to San Diego in February and he remains in the central jail without bail.
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