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DNA Tests Solve 1992 Worcester Murder

WORCESTER (CBS/AP) – The Worcester district attorney's office says tests on DNA taken last year from the dead body of a man in Alabama have solved the 1992 slaying of a woman in Worcester.

District Attorney Joseph Early had said in October that DNA recovered in the slaying of 30-year-old Denise Comeau matched DNA from two rapes committed in Worcester in the 1990s.

On Wednesday, Early confirmed James Earl Johnson's body was exhumed from a cemetery in Tuskegee, Ala. last October and tissue from his body matched DNA collected in the murder and rapes. Johnson died at the age of 58 in 2008.

The rape victims have also since died.

Early said then that an Alabama judge approved exhumation of Johnson's body, who died in 2008, from a cemetery near Tuskegee, Ala., for DNA testing.

Johnson had lived in Worcester for 15 years. In 1992, Comeau's body was found in a fire in an abandoned building in that city. An autopsy showed she was strangled before the fire burned her body.

Authorities said he had been a suspect in one of the rapes, but was never charged because the victim did not want to go forward with the charge.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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