Cleveland: Man pleads guilty in 1989 'cold case' killing

3:16 PM, Jul 29, 2013   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty confirmed that Eric Register pleaded guilty to one count of voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to a term of 10 to 25 years in prison for the 1989 slaying of Armond Earl.

On July 19, 1989, a family member of Armond Earl contacted Maple Heights Police to report him missing. Maple Heights Police went to the victim's apartment in the 5300 block of Lee Road.

After several attempts to see if someone was home, officers knocked down the apartment door and observed the victim's nude body lying on the living room floor.

The bloody crime scene demonstrated the vicious nature of the murder. It was determined that the crime had occurred several days earlier. Officers noticed four wounds: two in the forehead, and two in the chest.

The Deputy Coroner determined the stab wounds had possibly been made by a screwdriver. One of the items the police preserved from the crime scene was a bathtub drain.

That bathtub drain was recently tested at the Bureau of Criminal Investigation's Regional Crime Lab and a DNA profile was developed.

The profile was later matched to blood found on a screwdriver left at the scene and that profile then matched Eric Register. Register's DNA was also found to have comingled with the blood of the victim.

The assailant had left a bloody fingerprint on a fan found next to the victim. For over 20 years, police attempted to determine whose bloody fingerprint was left at the scene.

The Cold Case Unit submitted a request to BCI to compare the fingerprints of suspect Register to this bloody print found at the scene of the murder. This bloody fingerprint was made by Register.

Working with the Maple Heights Police Detectives, the Cold Case Unit reopened the Armond Earl murder case in February 2010. Register was subsequently indicted in November 2012.

The Cold Case Unit was formed in 2005 with a Grant from the Department of Justice.  Prosecutor McGinty has continued the Cold Case Unit.

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