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A New Jersey man, Vallis L. Slaughter, has been arrested after Pennsylvania investigators linked him to a 2012 fatal shooting using DNA forensics, a Styrofoam cup found at the scene, and a cigarette butt found at his mom’s residence. Slaughter was charged with first-degree murder in connection to the death of Julio Torres outside the West Reading Diner in March 2012. Previously, Jomain Case was arrested and convicted for the murder based on his DNA matching a piece of Styrofoam cup at the crime scene, but further analysis revealed it did not match with samples in the database. Investigators later discovered that Slaughter was in Reading, Pennsylvania on the night of the murder.

The case went cold as leads were exhausted, but about 12 years after the crime, investigators reopened it and found a new piece of evidence in a cell phone picture showing Slaughter taken by a friend on the night of the murder. Using facial recognition software, investigators identified Slaughter as the alleged shooter responsible for Torres’ death. Last December, while Slaughter was living in Jersey City, New Jersey with his mother, investigators obtained a discarded cigarette butt. DNA from the spent filter was then matched with the DNA found on the Styrofoam cup from the crime scene in 2012. Slaughter was arrested at his mother’s house by the Jersey City Police Department and is now being held at the Hudson County Correctional Facility pending extradition to Berks County.

Slaughter now faces charges of first- and third-degree murder, criminal conspiracy, aggravated assault, and possessing instruments of crime. The development in DNA forensics helped investigators connect Slaughter to the 2012 fatal shooting after using DNA from a cigarette butt and a piece of Styrofoam cup found at the crime scene. The arrest of Slaughter was a significant break in the case, as the murder of Julio Torres had remained unsolved for years until recent advancements in investigations led to identifying Slaughter as the alleged shooter responsible for Torres’ death.

Berks County District Attorney John T. Adams announced Slaughter’s arrest and provided details on the investigation during a press conference. Investigators were able to match DNA found on the Styrofoam cup and the cigarette butt to Slaughter, linking him to the crime scene and the night of the murder. The use of facial recognition software also helped identify Slaughter from a cell phone picture taken on the night of the murder. The arrest of Slaughter in Jersey City, New Jersey, where he was living with his mother, is a significant development in the case, as it provides closure for the family of Julio Torres and ensures justice is served for the victim.

Slaughter’s arrest and the charges he now faces highlight the importance of advancements in DNA forensics and investigative technology in solving cold cases and bringing perpetrators to justice. The cooperation between Pennsylvania and New Jersey law enforcement agencies in apprehending Slaughter demonstrates the dedication and determination of investigators to solve crimes and protect communities. As the case against Slaughter progresses, the focus will be on ensuring a fair trial and holding the defendant accountable for the murder of Julio Torres in 2012. The use of DNA evidence from a cigarette butt and a Styrofoam cup, alongside facial recognition technology, showcases the power of modern forensics in solving crimes and advancing justice in cold cases that have remained unsolved for years.

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