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How a can of beer gave away a murderer who committed his crime 25 years ago

The DNA evidence collected from a can of beer that a man drank and threw in the trash served the police to arrest the alleged culprit of a crime committed in 1996 in an Orange County store, in central Florida, USA.

Kenneth Stouhg Jr., 54, was arrested Tuesday in the aforementioned county and charged 25 years after the brutal stabbing murder of an employee of the small convenience store Lil ‘Champ.

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What happened 25 years ago?

It was 1996 when reports came to the police of a murder which had occurred in a store in Orange County, Florida (USA).

The brutal crime, which was committed with 73 stabbing on the victim, he had been executed in one of the bathrooms of the place.

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Brian Savelli, the detective with the County Sheriff’s Office Orange, said: “The man was stabbed 73 times. More in the torso, and his throat was really cut. It was a very gruesome and violent scene. “

“The front door key cylinder, door push bar, a behind the counter lottery machine, and a beverage freezer handle were submitted to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for analysis in 1996.″ Published the television station ‘Kiro 7 ′.

The Lil ‘Champ grocery store in Orlando is shown the morning of February 3, 1996. (Photo: Orange County Sheriff’s Office).

However, by that time, research they were limited by technology issues.

Therefore, detectives knew that some of the blood was from the victim, Terrence Paquette, a store clerk, but the rest was from another human being who remained anonymous.

Despite the efforts of detectives to find the individual who had committed the cruel attack, everything ended up filed as a “cold case.”

“In 2003 the case was reopened and the investigators applied genetic genealogy technology to try to identify the criminal,” the aforementioned media reported.

Who was the person behind the question?

In 2021, the authorities in charge of the investigation found a strong clue thanks to a genealogical database.

The approach to the alleged suspicious closed the ‘radar’ to two people: Kenneth Sough Jr and Carol Ann Crawford, a couple who appeared to have a conventional life.

So investigations began to locate the suspects. Kenneth Stough Jr lived in the Florida town of Eustis.

Detectives followed up and found the perfect opportunity to unmask the criminal.

A can of beer solves the case

Kenneth Stough Jr. was drinking a beer that would mark the beginning of his sentence.

When the suspect finished drinking, he threw the container in the trash.

The policemen who were spying on him took the can and passed it through DNA testing, which strongly coincided with the blood samples taken at that terrible crime scene years ago.

According to a review by various local media, the suspect would face charges of murder in the first degree and robbery with a deadly weapon.

Orange County Sheriff John Mina noted: “Just because we don’t make an arrest in a case in a day or a few weeks or even a few months doesn’t mean we are giving up our victims and their families.”

Mina himself said it: Justice it arrives, sometimes 25 years late, but it arrives.

Paquette case files.  (Photo: Orange County Sheriff's Office).

Paquette case files. (Photo: Orange County Sheriff’s Office).

More details on the 1996 crime

Everything indicates that the macabre outcome began as a robbery.

Paquette, the victim, was doing her morning chores on that fateful day.

He arrived at the store, called Lil ‘Champ, between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m., as he normally did.

The private laboratory Othram, specializing in genetic genealogy, said in a statement that Paquette “had only moved to Orlando a few years before, worked 60 hours a week and did not have many known associates.”

The notice that something strange was happening was given by a person who was passing by the store.

When the authorities arrived at the scene, they noticed that at the entrance there were two vehicles waiting for Paquette to collect the store’s deposit.

Also in the place was the victim’s car parked, an unmistakable sign that he was in business to serve them. After several attempts and unanswered calls inside the store, the agents decided to enter.

Victim's car.  (Photo: Orange County Sheriff's Office).

Victim’s car. (Photo: Orange County Sheriff’s Office).

“A Lil ‘Champ employee who lived nearby drove by and saw the growing police presence,’ ‘the affidavit reads.

“The man, who had closed the store the night before, provided a key for the agents to enter,” reported the television station ‘Kiro 7’.

It was at that moment that the authorities found the body lying on the ground and they noticed that the murderer had stolen a thousand dollars (more than 3.8 million Colombian pesos at the current exchange rate).

The terrible scene has been described in multiple ways as time passed and the forensic reports filled with cobwebs. They were lost in oblivion.

There was a murdered. Also a mobile – the alleged theft – and thousands of marks of fight and attack. However, nothing was conclusive enough to solve the case.

Except the unexpected: an innocent can of beer that arrived 25 years later to ‘bear his testimony’.


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