By Morgan Gstalter, thehill.com
A DJ in Pennsylvania was convicted of killing an elementary school teacher in 1992 after being identified as a suspect when a relative submitted DNA to a genealogy database.
Raymond Rowe, 50, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder on Tuesday for the death of 25-year-old Christy Mirack, local news outlet WHTM reported.
He also pleaded guilty to three counts of rape, two counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and one count of burglary, according to the TV news channel.
After his guilty plea, Rowe was sentenced to life in prison without parole and a consecutive prison term of 60 to 120 years, avoiding the possibility of the death penalty had the case gone to trial.
Mirack, an elementary school teacher, was killed inside of her East Lampeter Township home on Dec. 21, 1992.
DNA evidence was found on the carpet at the victim’s home, but investigators were unable to link it to a suspect until Rowe’s half-sister shared her DNA profile with a genealogy website, The Associated Press reported.
Police were then led to Rowe, who lived just miles from Mirack in 1992.
Undercover law enforcement officials in May collected DNA samples from a used bottle of water and chewing gum from Rowe while he was working as a DJ at a school event.
Rowe’s DNA matched the genetic material left behind at the crime scene, with prosecutors telling WHTM that the odds that anyone else was the culprit were “astronomical.”
Investigators used the same genealogy database, GEDmatch, used by police in California to identify the so-called Golden State Killer, People magazine reported.
Joseph James DeAngelo was accused in April of committing more than 50 rapes and 12 murders in the 1970s.
While Rowe’s motive still remains unknown, District Attorney Craig Stedman said Mirack sometimes went to the Chameleon Club while Rowe was working.
Known by his staff name DJ Freez, Rowe claimed on his former website that he worked as a DJ for celebrities like Paris Hilton and Brooke Hogan, as well as at events featuring acts such as Sting and The Eagles, People magazine reported.
Rowe would have driven passed her building on his most likely route to and from work, Stedman said. Mirack was known to sunbathe outside.
The DJ also drove a 1988 Toyota Celica in 1992, similar to what was reported by witnesses on the day of the crime.
Rowe apologized to Mirack’s family for the first time in the courtroom during Tuesday’s proceedings.
“I’m sorry. I can’t imagine what you’re going through. I apologize,” he said.
Stedman said Rowe showed no remorse during the investigation.
“He didn’t turn himself in before this. He could have done this if the conscience was weighing on him. He had 25 plus years to deal with that. Only he knows if he meant what he said,” Stedman told reporters.